Police and protesters clashed in Salt Lake City after a teenager was shot by police, according to Reuters. Abdi Mohamed, 17, is in critical condition after being shot Saturday night by officers who believed he was carrying a weapon.
The Salt Lake City Police Department reported that officers saw two people attacking another person with metal objects Saturday night and ordered them to drop their weapons. Mohamed allegedly failed to obey and "continued to advance on the victim and was shot by officers" twice in the torso, according to a statement released by the department.
Police later identified the suspected weapon as a broomstick, according to the Associated Press. Witness Selam Mohammad told reporters that Mohamed had dropped the stick when police asked, but was shot regardless, according to the Washington Post.
"The police said 'drop it' once, then they shot him four times," said Mohammad. "We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already."
Immediately after the shooting took place, people in the street began shouting at police and throwing projectiles such as rocks and bottles, leading to a request for backup of approximately 100 officers. Detective Ken Hanson claimed that police cleared the area without the use of riot lines or tear gas, and four people were arrested for civil disorder.
"The use of force by law enforcement against the public can tear at the delicate balance of trust between both sides and must be taken extremely seriously," Mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a statement released yesterday. "These incidents create a number of unanswered questions in the short term, and justice requires we work together in good faith to find answers."
Demonstrations and protests are being planned by various groups for tonight, including a group called Utah Against Police Brutality, who called for protests last night in a Facebook post. The shooting is likely to add fuel to an already-strained relationship between local citizens and police, with the Washington Post reporting that Mohamed is the 161st person to be shot by police this year.