CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Lawyer rips Idaho prosecutor for not charging 18-year-old man, who allegedly yelled racist and sexual slurs at U. women’s basketball players

May 10, 2024, 6:00 PM

Police in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, detain people pulled from a U-Haul truck near the city's Pride celebration, on June 11 (Photo courtesy of Georji Brown)

(Photo courtesy of Georji Brown)

SALT LAKE CITY — A northern Idaho prosecutor won’t bring hate-crime charges against an 18-year-old man accused of shouting racist and sexual slurs at members of the University of Utah women’s basketball team during the NCAA Tournament on March 21.

In 2022, 21 hate and antigovernment groups were tracked in Idaho

After an investigation, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department determined that “Anthony Richard Myers, a student at Post Falls High School, made the offensive statement containing the racial slur, to which he subsequently confessed during interviews with law enforcement,” Ryan S. Hunter, chief deputy city attorney, wrote in a charging decision May 3, as reported by Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press.

Coeur d’Alene prosecutor: No charges in racial incident involving University of Utah basketball team

“Our office shares in the outrage sparked by Anthony Myers’s abhorrently racist and misogynistic statement, and we join in unequivocally condemning that statement and the use of a racial slur in this case or in any circumstance,” Hunter wrote.

“However, that cannot, under current law, form the basis for criminal prosecution in this case.”

Prosecutors ultimately decided they lacked sufficient evidence to bring charges against Myers. 

Idaho’s hate crime law only makes racial harassment a crime if it is done with the intent to either threaten or cause physical harm to a person or their property. The man who shouted the slur told police he did it because he thought it would be funny, Hunter wrote as reported by NBC News.

How are racist and sexual slurs funny?

KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas discusses details of the case and what is and isn’t protected speech with Dave and Debbie.

“I just don’t see how any reasonable person in America in 2024 can find those types of racial comments and the sexual comments that were made to be anything except threatening and offensive. I mean there’s nothing funny about them,” Skordas said.

He added that the age of the man accused of shouting the slurs may have been a factor in prosecutors’ decision not to bring charges.

“Maybe it is some concession that this is an 18-year-old high school kid who probably has learned his lesson. Hopefully, he doesn’t think he’s still funny, and his name is now been disclosed.

“Maybe there will be some repercussions there. Maybe he will learn something. Maybe he’ll he’ll apologize and become a different person,” Skordas said.

What about freedom of speech?

Where does the First Amendment protection of free speech end and a hate crime begin?

“If he makes those thoughts in some sort of written statement or just says them publicly, not directed at any person, I guess arguably that’s free speech.

“But these are directed to people, these are directed to a group of black women who are there just to play basketball, and they’re there minding their own business,” Skordas said.

“It’s not free speech anymore. It becomes intimidating speech. It becomes harassing speech, and it probably becomes at least misdemeanor offense.”

Related:

No charges filed in racist incident against Utah’s women’s basketball team; NAACP responds


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

One person is in police custody after a fatal shooting in an industrial neighborhood at 3200 West D...

Simone Seikaly

One person dead after shooting in SLC

One person is in police custody after a fatal shooting around 3200 West Decade Drive on Tuesday afternoon.

8 minutes ago

Human remains found in the Duck Creek Ridge area of Kane County are believed to be those of Courtne...

Simone Seikaly

Investigators say remains found of missing woman Courtney Townsend

An ATV rider told officials he found clothing near a road in the Duck Creek Ridge area. He was reportedly familiar with the Courtney Townsend case.

20 minutes ago

South Salt Lake Police have arrested a man who they say deliberately hit a police officer....

Peter Johnston

Police: man deliberately ran truck into officer weeks after death of Santaquin police Sgt.

Police said they arrested a man who they accuse of deliberately hitting an officer with his truck.

7 hours ago

John Prior speaks with Chad Daybell during a hearing in August 2020. An FBI agent testified Monday ...

Becky Bruce

Chad Daybell trial: witness testimony ends, closing arguments begin Wednesday

If the state of Idaho wraps up its questioning of rebuttal witnesses today, closing arguments in the trial of Chad Daybell would take place next.

9 hours ago

Medically Vulnerable People program facility in Sandy, a resident of the homeless facility was arre...

Sam Herrera

Resident at Sandy homeless facility arrested for murder of roommate

Police say a 62-year-old resident at the Sandy homeless facility was found dead in her room on Sunday, the victim of an apparent murder.

1 day ago

traffic on freeway, 100 deadliest days in utah start today...

Mark Jackson

Memorial Day marks beginning of 100 deadliest days on Utah roads

The Utah Highway Patrol said that 85 people died during the 100 deadliest days on Utah roads during the summer of 2023.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Lawyer rips Idaho prosecutor for not charging 18-year-old man, who allegedly yelled racist and sexual slurs at U. women’s basketball players