Members of the Community Attend Burial of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal


Lucy Carbajal and her daughter Elsa Palacios mourn Bernardo Palacios at the Salt Lake City Cemetery on June 10, 2020. (Photo by Mark Draper | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ivana Martinez, Assistant News Editor

After two weeks of protesting, there was silence as members of the community came together to mourn and lay to rest Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal at the Salt Lake City Cemetery on June 10, 2020.

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal died at age 22, after being fatally shot 20 times by Salt Lake City Police officers on May 23.

His last words were, “I don’t want to die.”

In the afternoon, under the bright sun, members of the community brought bubbles and roses for Bernardo. They stood on the edge of the curb, allowing the family to grieve. 

Lucy Carbajal clung to her son’s casket, held up by her surviving children: Elsa and Freddie Palacios. Carbajal cried out for her son in Spanish saying she missed him. The Palacios family held onto each other while they said their goodbyes. 

The Palacios family took a moment to remember Bernardo by playing his music and sharing stories about their experiences.  

“I felt like on May 23, like my whole heart just got ripped out. And it’s with you, Bernardo. You have it. You will forever have it,” Elsa Palacios said, holding back tears.

Friends and family were asked if they wanted to write on Palacios casket. Among things written were: “watch over us”, “justice 4 u, we promise” and “sweet baby angel we love you.” Buckets of flowers adorned Palacios’ grave, as members of the community came to drop off flowers and candles.

“Bernardo was my little brother. My only brother got taken away too soon. And I’m going to miss you man. He was my partner, he was my friend,” Freddie Palacios said. “I know you’re gonna be there with me, you’re here with me right now, every day. You can hear me man, and this isn’t gonna stay like this.”

Freddie Palacios remembered Bernardo as a loving uncle who taught his daughter to draw and would create music and art in his room. 

Lucy Carbajal took a moment to thank the community for supporting her family during this time and to send off her son. 

“I miss him so much,” Lucy Carbajal said in Spanish, sobbing. “Kisses son, kisses up to the sky. I miss you. Thank you everyone for being here.” 

At the funeral, they played music Palacios-Carbajal created. Friends shared stories of Bernardo, as an artist, musician, a dependable friend and a caring son.  

Recently released footage of the night of May 23 has left the family demanding justice for Bernardo. Protests around Salt Lake City have occurred almost every night demanding justice for victims of police brutality, and specifically justice for Bernardo. 

A close family friend, Lorena Burciaga — who’s been a spokesperson in recent weeks — said Bernardo would not die if the community does not allow it. 

“The good people, the people who are loved never die,” Burciaga said in Spanish, “because their memories always live in the memory and the heart of the people who loved them. And how are we going to ensure his memory remains? How? Being at the protests and supporting his family and making sure there is justice for Bernardo.” 

A petition demanding mayor Erin Mendenhall fire and charge the police officers for the killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal has almost 29,000 signatures. 

At the end of the funeral, friends and family members let go of white balloons as they dropped red roses onto his grave chanting “justice for Bernardo.”

[email protected]