CRIME

Body camera footage released from report of racist attacks against U of U team in Idaho

Mar 29, 2024, 10:31 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — New body camera footage from the Coeur D’Alene City Police Department is giving insight into alleged racist harassment of University of Utah female basketball players while attending an NCAA basketball tournament last week.

The team’s coach Lynne Roberts called the incidents a “black eye” on the what was supposed to be a joyous experience.

The incidents sparked a police investigation, which the Salt Lake Branch of the NAACP confirmed involved the FBI.

In the body camera footage from the night of March 21, the witness who called police told the responding officer that the group didn’t fully realize what had happened at first.

The man, who told police he was a University of Utah Women’s basketball team donor, explained that as the team walked down the sidewalk in Coeur d’Alene from their hotel to the restaurant, a lifted truck drove up to the group.

“We got 100 people trailing down, and you know, the team’s got the sweats on and everything,” he said, referring to their group’s size.

He said the lifted truck began revving its engine, with the people inside yelling racial slurs, blatantly targeting the women of color in the group.

“Everybody’s kind of walking faster, and it was, it was aggressive. It wasn’t passive,” the witness recounted.

He said it scared the girls on the team.

NAACP Utah ‘extremely disappointed’ about racist taunting of U of U women’s basketball team

A couple of hours later, when the team left dinner to walk back, the witness told the officer he believed what may have been the same group was sitting outside. This time, he explained, there were more vehicles. He described cars crammed with people inside.

“And literally, they had to have been waiting. I mean, literally,” the man said, to the officer. “Because no more than heading back down the street … They’d go fast and slow down and it was just so off … But they start throwing the F-bombs and the N-bombs.”

He expressed worry over the team’s safety, telling the officer that the team was supposed to stay at the hotel for a few more nights.

“They’re just scared,” he said. “And I’m not being dramatic.”

The officer tells the witness he’ll document the report and stay on the lookout for any more problems.

“If you notice them or anything like that happening, even if it’s just like, ‘Hey, I think it was these individuals and this is where they’re at,’ call us right away,” the officer urges.

The team moved hotels the next day, saying in a statement they’re providing support to all those impacted.

The Coeur d’Alene mayor later apologized on behalf of his city.

Idaho lawmakers question reports of U of U women’s basketball team’s racist harassment

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Body camera footage released from report of racist attacks against U of U team in Idaho