CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Sign with swastika, N-word posted on a residential fence in West Valley

Oct 13, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: Oct 14, 2022, 10:34 am

A woman who lives in West Valley City posted a Tweet this morning about a racist sign posted to her...

A woman who lives in West Valley City posted a Tweet this morning about a racist sign posted to her fence. The sign included a swastika, the N-word, KKK, and the words "Vote Trevor Lee." (Deborah Gatrell)

(Deborah Gatrell)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A woman who lives in West Valley City posted a Tweet on Thursday morning about a sign posted to her fence. It included a swastika, the N-word, KKK, and the words “Vote Trevor Lee.”

The woman, Deborah Gatrell, told KSL NewsRadio her home faces an elementary school in West Valley and that she doesn’t live in House District 16, where Lee is running for a seat in Utah’s House of Representatives.

Although, she said her parents do.

She also posted the back of the sign, where it appears no one wrote over it.

Back of sign.

Lee, says he had nothing to do with the sign. And whoever did, he said, must not be a supporter of his.

“It’s people just trying to come after me and my opinion,” Lee said. “I think it’s just people trying to get attention.”

Lee also said he’s opposed to what’s written on the sign. He compared it to what he calls the “BYU volleyball hoax,” and the Jesse Smolette case.

“People just trying to cause an uproar,” Lee said.

“I one-hundred percent disavow everything that was written on that sign, except the ‘Vote Trevor Lee,’ he said chuckling. “And I disavow any type of [vandalism], any form of it including the use of the vulgar words that are on that sign,” Lee said. 

The homeowner, Gatrell, told KSL NewsRadio the only reason that she can think of that sign ended up in her yard is her support of Rep. Steve Handy, Lee’s opponent.

“I said something supporting Steve Handy, and that irritated somebody,” she said. “Trevor Lee is associated with all of the extreme right-wing talking points, so there’s racism, there’s the DezNat movement, there’s violent talk in his camp.”

Lee denies that.

DezNat refers to a hashtag used on Twitter. There is no official definition, but The Daily Beast reports the hashtag stands for “Deseret Nation” and is used by a “loose affiliation of online Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Gatrell said she filed a police report with West Valley City police. KSL reached out to WVPD to verify but has not gotten a response.

Representative Steve Handy said he knew nothing of this sign.

“This kind of vitriol is horrible, the worst kind of politics and has no place in this campaign,” he said.

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Sign with swastika, N-word posted on a residential fence in West Valley