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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man sentenced for racial harassment of Black Post Falls police officer, meth possession at Taco Bell

A 40-year-old man who harassed a Black Post Falls police officer and had methamphetamine in his pocket last summer at Taco Bell was sentenced to at least two years in prison.

District Judge Barbara Duggan sentenced Dwayne Houston on Tuesday to at least two years in prison for malicious harassment and possession of methamphetamine, both felonies, for the July 9 incident, according to a Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office news release.

Post Falls police responded to the Taco Bell over a reported fight in the drive-through , prosecutors said. Houston was eating inside the restaurant and had nothing to do with the incident.

Still, he came outside as officers were investigating and interrupted, according to the release. Houston then asked why a Black officer was looking at him.

The officer responded, “Have a good day, sir.”

Houston responded, “You, too, boy,” emphasizing the word “boy,” the release said.

The officer recognized “boy” to be a racial slur in this context and again told Houston to “have a good day.”

The officer continued to tell Houston, “Have a good day, sir,” as Houston started to walk toward the officer while mocking him, according to the release.

Houston attempted to interrupt the officer, calling him “boy” again and “cute,” and making comments about the officer’s smile, lips and mother.

Houston then approached the officer “while staring him down, with clenched jaw muscles,” and one hand partially tucked into his waistline, prosecutors said.

The officer became concerned because of Houston’s body language and behavior.

To defend himself and other officers against the safety concerns, the officer shined his flashlight in Houston’s eyes as Houston was denigrating him as a “public servant” while asking whether Houston had a problem, the release said.

Houston then lunged at the officer and said, “I sure do,” using expletives in telling the officer to get the light out of his face.

Houston was arrested, and meth was found in one of his pockets while being searched at the jail.

Houston was wearing a leather belt that read, “TEXAS BANDIDOS,” but a swastika took the place of the “X.”

Houston’s criminal history includes assault, harassment, exhibiting/displaying/carrying a weapon with intent to intimidate and robbery, according to prosecutors.

He was convicted in 2019 of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of assault. In that case, it was alleged Houston used an anti-gay slur in reference to the two male victims.

Houston had pending charges in Pierce County, Washington, for assault, malicious mischief and hit-and-run of an attended vehicle when he was arrested in Post Falls. That case is scheduled for a pretrial conference later this month. Houston allegedly used an anti-gay slur in reference to the male victim.

Duggan sentenced Houston to five years in prison with parole eligibility after two years.

“The crime of Malicious Harassment does not prohibit free speech or the use of racial slurs,” the release said. “As illustrated in this case, Malicious Harassment prohibits threats – lunging at an officer – that are racially motivated. Motive can be established by the surrounding circumstances of each case; commonly by the words a perpetrator uses during the threat.”