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Reflecting the national climate, two groups one supporting police and the other protesting police shootings demonstrated Friday outside City Hall in downtown Salt Lake City.
The two sides held competing signs, including "Police Don't Shoot to Kill. They Shoot to Stay Alive" and "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," and had some heated arguments but there were no physical altercations.
About 70 people showed up as a sign of support for police officers, including state Attorney General Sean Reyes, and about 25 were there for the counter demonstration by Utah Against Police Brutality.
Reyes, who wore a bullet-proof vest, spoke to the crowd at the 45-minute event in support of the police. His spokeswoman, Missy Larsen, said no threat had been made against Reyes but his security team had asked him to wear the vest.
The organizer of the pro-police rally, real estate broker Dennis Marchant, said he believes the majority of people support the police. He had announced the event on Facebook less than a week ago and was pleased about the number of people who showed up on a workday on short notice.
"Our voices aren't being heard," Marchant said. "It's the vocal minority that seems to be getting the attention."
Rally participants agreed it was important to speak up.
"It just breaks our hearts that people aren't saying the police are the good guys," said Carol Gent, a police officer's wife.
But a member of Utah Against Police Brutality, Gregory Lucero, questioned why good officers allegedly aren't pushing to rid their departments of bad officers.
"It seems like there are bad cops and silent cops," he said.
Members of the grass-roots group at times chanted "His name was Darrien Hunt," a reference to a 22-year-old who was fatally shot in September in Saratoga Springs. He was shot after he allegedly swung a replica samurai sword at police while, his family says, he was role-playing in costume.
The organization also has protested the fatal shooting of Dillon Taylor, an unarmed 20-year-old, by Salt Lake City police. Both the Hunt and Taylor shootings were ruled justified.
The Utah rally was among dozens of events and gestures made around the country to demonstrate gratitude for law enforcement. The effort was prompted a gunman's Saturday killing of two officers who were in their patrol car in Brooklyn.