Teens not prosecuted as police, school district conclude investigation into blackface video

Nov 8, 2022, 3:42 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 10:46 am
This is a frame from the video that shows three teens dressed prisoner clothing and with blackface....
This is a frame from the video that shows three teens dressed prisoner clothing and with blackface. (TikTok)

The Iron County School District and Cedar City Police Department concluded their investigation into a viral video of teens with blackface and found no crimes to be prosecuted.

The investigation found that the video was filmed at a Cedar City Walmart on Halloween and began circulating on social media after a “concerned community member” shared the video on Nov. 1.

The teens were not part of any school function and the incident occurred outside of school hours.

Police, Utah governor condemn video of teens with blackface

The release states, “Iron County School District respects the First Amendment and supports an individual’s right to free speech. However, it also strongly denounces all forms of discrimination and racism whether those actions are on campus or off campus, in person or online. The video has caused a significant disruption to the school environment of both high schools in Cedar City as well as another school in Utah County and adversely affected many students, including our minority populations.”

Ultimately, it was determined that the four male teens shown prominently in the video are not students of a public school.

According to the release, “The investigation has definitively determined that the four male individuals prominently featured in the video are not students in a public education institution and the district has no recourse with those individuals. The degree of participation of other individuals observed in the video who were identified as Iron County students was taken into consideration. Appropriate action, if warranted, has been taken with those individuals.”

Because of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, specifics of any disciplinary action will not be released.

Iron County school is providing resources and support for students who are “struggling as a result of this incident.”

“Iron County School District administrators are looking at different options to further enhance efforts to promote sensitivity and anti-discrimination. This includes working with Cedar City and Southern Utah University officials in a joint effort. We hope that this can be a learning experience for those involved, as well as others. It’s critical that we work together as a community to prevent these types of things from happening in the future.”

Cedar City Police Department announced the completion of their investigation as well, concluding there was no evidence of any crime to prosecute.

The statement from the Cedar City police reads as follows:

“On October 31, 2022 three male subjects dressed in blackface entered the Wal-Mart in Cedar City. The three subjects, along with others, were recorded inside the store. The video recording went viral on multiple social media platforms.

“On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, Officers from the Cedar City Police Department were made aware of the incident and initiated an investigation. Investigators interviewed multiple subjects, collected videos and obtained other evidence. At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was reviewed by both the City Attorney’s office as well as the Office of the Iron County Attorney. Both offices agreed with the investigative team that there is no evidence of any crime, and therefore, nothing to prosecute.

“The Cedar City Police Department condemns the insensitive and inappropriate acts of those involved. We promote inclusivity and acceptance.”

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Teens not prosecuted as police, school district conclude investigation into blackface video