Provo police arrested a Sandy man who they say helped organize the June 29 protest in Provo that involved two men brandishing firearms and demonstrators blocking traffic.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers with the Provo City Police Department responded to an unlawful protest at the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street between 6 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.
The protest was considered unlawful because organizers had not received a permit for the event. One of the organizers of the event, 25-year-old John Earle Sullivan of Sandy, and his organization, Insurgence USA, promoted the event online and made social media postings that advocated for other protesters to join.
Police allege that Sullivan committed riotous acts as a protest organizer where 80-100 protesters traveled on foot on roadways that blocked drivers who had the right of way, according to arrest documents. During the course of the night, two handguns were also brandished and one of the handguns was fired, and struck a driver, who was making his way to Home Depot.
In videos Sullivan posted to Facebook and broadcast live, Sullivan is heard inviting protesters to join. Additionally, Sullivan and other protesters engaged in acts of criminal mischief while making threats of violence during the protests.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Sullivan is heard and seen urging protesters to block roadways, prohibiting motorists from traveling lawfully and freely.
Another video shows Sullivan allegedly saying “I’ll beat your a--, b----,” making a verbal threat toward a female driver and only occupant in a maroon Dodge Durango. The driver continues through the crowd of protesters as Sullivan is allegedly seen kicking the driver’s side door of the vehicle causing a large dent on the exterior of the door.
As he alleged causes damage to the door, he is heard yelling he “will f--- your head up,” addressing the female driver inside, according to arrest documents. A second video also details these events and also exhibits Sullivan talking about the shooting incident.
In the video, Sullivan allegedly tells other protesters he saw the gun smoking after shots were fired into a white SUV that was proceeding southbound on University and attempting to turn right onto Center Street. Police allege Sullivan saw the gunman several times throughout the evening, and he did not condemn the shooting, attempt to stop it or aid in the police investigation.
Instead, Sullivan is allegedly seen walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the shooter and engaging in a calm conversation after the shooting in another video posted to social media, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Authorities arrested Sullivan late Thursday evening under the suspicion of third-degree felony rioting, class A misdemeanor criminal mischief and class B misdemeanor threat of violence. He is currently being held at the Utah County Jail on $7,500 bail.