utah, racial slur, women's basketball

Police Confirm Audio Of Racial Slur Used Against Utah Women’s Basketball Team

Police in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, have found evidence of the use of a racial slur towards the University of Utah's travel team during their investigation.

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have been continuing their investigation into the alleged use of racial slurs towards a group of student-athletes, students, and athletic administration workers during the University of Utah’s detour to the town during the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. They have now found evidence of the use of a racial slur towards the group.

On April 4, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department provided an update via their Facebook account, stating that they are still investigating the matter. The department wrote, “Since these incidents were originally reported to the Police Department, detectives have conducted interviews with the involved parties. Additionally, detectives have collected approximately 35 hours of video from businesses in the area where the incidents occurred.”

The department continued, “We’ve identified an audio recording where the use of a racial slur was clearly audible. We’re working determine the context and conduct associated with its use to determine if is a violation of the law. While we’re still reviewing evidence, it appears the use of a racial slur occurred more than one time.”

The police are also currently working to identify a silver car that they believe was in the area at the same time they identified a clearly audible racist slur from surveillance video. 

As Yahoo reported, the police department believes that the evidence they have uncovered during their investigation agrees with the version of events that members of Utah’s basketball program have relayed to them.

The first instance that the police are concerned with occurred as the team and the traveling party was walking to eat dinner at a restaurant in town. As the group was walking, they experienced a vehicle driving by them and the occupants of said vehicle shouting racial epithets at them. 

Once they left the restaurant to head back to the hotel, another vehicle passed them, according to statements given by members of the traveling party. The vehicle gunned the engine and then repeated the behavior of the first group.

Following the two events, the team moved hotels to a location closer to the host city of Spokane, Washington. The NCAA issued a statement condemning the attacks, saying that the organization “condemns racism and hatred in any form” and is “devastated about the Utah team’s experience.”

Although city officials like Coeur d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond apologized to the team publicly at a press conference, that apology was interrupted by a man who was described by reporters in Coeur d’Alene as a “far-right agitator,” which ended the press conference prematurely. 

As the Idaho Statesman reported, some far-right legislators and political influencers in Idaho believe the event was a hoax, despite the existence of video and audio recordings of the racial slurs directed at the members of Utah’s travel team. Those politicians, as The Statesman also reported, attempted to hijack a symbolic vote condemning the racism present in the experience of the Utah delegation.

In response to their protests that they needed time, Senate Assistant Minority Leader Abby Lee, a Republican who sponsored the resolution said, “I don’t know how much time it takes people to decide if you are against racism, racial slurs, racial intimidation and hatred.”

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