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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Here’s what is known about the alleged racial harassment of the University of Utah women’s basketball team in Coeur d’Alene

Indoor security footage at Crafted Taphouse restaurant in Coeur d'Alene shows the Utah women's basketball team arriving for dinner after being subjected to hate speech.  (Courtesy)
By Alexandra Duggan and Garrett Cabeza The Spokesman-Review

The Coeur d’Alene Police Department is releasing more information related to the alleged racial harassment of the University of Utah women’s basketball team March 21.

This week, the department released a video of an interview an officer conducted with a University of Utah women’s basketball booster who called police to report that a group of racists revving truck engines and yelling slurs victimized players on the team.

Here’s a rundown of that interview and the circumstances leading up it:

On Thursday, March 21, some 100 members of Utah athletics walked down Sherman Avenue from the Coeur d’Alene Resort to Crafted Tap House + Kitchen for dinner. They had a reservation for around 90 people at 5:30 p.m., according to the manager of the restaurant, Junior Mujtaba.

As they were walking, two lifted pickups passed by and began to yell racial slurs at the nonwhite players as the drivers revved their engines, a police report filed by team donor Robert Moyer stated.

Coeur d’Alene police officer Michael Jolley responded to the resort to speak with Moyer that night, body camera video shows.

Moyer used the words “hillbilly” and “white trash” to describe the people who directed the “N -word” at the team.

“There’s a history known here in some circles of crazy people in Hayden Lake and Sandpoint,” Moyer told Jolley.

“Yeah, Aryan Nations,” Jolley replied.

Moyer said the group’s actions and hateful language, which he described as “aggressive,” forced the team to walk faster to the restaurant.

Moyer told Jolley no one was able to get a plate number from the trucks.

“Some of us didn’t realize what had happened until we got to the restaurant and people are just like … One was in tears,” he said.

He added a “souped -up car” showed up with four extra people “crammed inside.”

The team stayed for about two hours, Mujtaba said, and left around 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. While walking back, Moyer said more people came back lying in wait for the players and shouted more slurs.

Moyer told Jolley the group had to have been waiting for the team to leave the restaurant because they were in trucks speeding up and slowing down, hurling “F bombs” and “N bombs” at the team.

”It scared them a lot,” Moyer said.

Jolley called the group’s actions “malicious harassment.”

“It’s uncalled for,” Jolley said. “There’s no reason for that.”

Moyer said the team planned to be there for several more days.

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

Moyer said the group scurried back to the hotel, and Moyer tried flagging down a police officer.

Two hours later, Moyer called police.

Charmelle Green, who is Black and the deputy athletic director for Utah, told that after the team returned to their Coeur d’Alene hotel Thursday night, she started to cry.

“I will never forget the sound that I heard, the intimidation of the noise that came from that engine, and the (N-word),” she said. “I go to bed and I hear it every night since I’ve been here.”

Moyer told police in a recorded interview that he would want to press charges, but it’s unclear if he spoke to any players who would.

“I haven’t spoken to, well, the … The top lady is African American … So yeah, I mean who wouldn’t?” he tells Jolley. “If they’re trying to do the right thing.”

“I’m here for the whole weekend. I’ll keep an eye out along Sherman, downtown,” Jolley said in the footage, adding he would type up a summary report with the information. Later on in the video, Moyer asks if racial harassment happens often in Coeur d’Alene.

“No. When it has happened, it happened with people who aren’t from here anyway,” Jolley tells him. “Usually not your locals who live here, although we have some hillbilly-type North Idaho stereotype here.”

Moyer said he thinks Coeur d’Alene is still a wonderful, beautiful place, but it doesn’t matter because the NCAA won’t “send any kids or teams over there.”

“I would discourage that. This is a safe town,” Jolley says in the footage.

“You know what I’m saying,” Moyer replies. Jolley reminds Moyer to reach out to the police if anything happens again.

Capt. David Hagar said the department was unable to speak with the Utah team after the report was made, and the university originally was not making the players available for interviews, but they have since worked it out.

On Thursday, a Coeur d’Alene detective and FBI agents arrived in Salt Lake City to speak with the players . Hagar said the department has one video in its possession and is actively seeking more from the public.

Dashboard cameras from cars were also checked, Hagar said, because Moyer stated he attempted to flag down an officer driving by at the time. Nothing of interest was found.

The dashboard cameras are only pointed in one direction, so it’s possible whoever flagged down the police officer didn’t appear in the footage, Hagar said.