Police Find Audio Recording of Racial Slur Directed at Utah Women's Team

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Idaho police investigating racist behavior directed at the University of Utah women’s basketball team during the first weekend of the NCAA Women's Tournament said they identified an audio recording on which a racial slur “was clearly audible.”

As reported by The Athletic, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department is still determining the “context and conduct” associated with the slur's use to determine whether a violation of the law occurred, it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“While we’re still reviewing evidence, it appears the use of a racial slur occurred more than one time,” police said, as reported by The Athletic.

Related: Utah Women's Coach Says Team Switched NCAA Tournament Hotels Due to 'Racial Hate Crimes'

Detectives have collected 35 hours of video from businesses around where the incidents occurred and have audio and video that corroborates what members of Utah’s traveling party reported, police said. The incident occurred March 21, ahead of Utah’s first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games hosted at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The basketball team was staying in Coeur d’Alene, about 30 miles east of Spokane, because of a crunch for hotel rooms in the area.

"Utah said the basketball team, band and cheerleaders walked to a restaurant for dinner and a truck revved its engine and a person yelled the N-word toward the team," Jenna West of The Athletic reported. "After dinner, around 6 p.m. local time, two pickup trucks revved their engines and sped by members of the team, according to a police report. The trucks then turned around and individuals inside yelled the N-word toward the team, per the police report.

Utah worked with the NCAA and Gonzaga to move to a hotel in Spokane the next day, West reported, adding that Utah athletic director Mark Harlan, deputy athletic director Charmelle Green and women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts said they were “very disappointed” to be assigned to a hotel so far from Spokane.

Related: Utah Releases More Details on Racial Hate Crimes Directed at Women's Basketball Team

“We will work with NCAA leadership to make it clear that being so far removed from the site was unacceptable and a contributing factor to the impact of this incident,” they said in a statement.

According to West's report, U.S. Census Bureau data from 2020 shows that the residents of Coeur d’Alene are largely White, with Black people making up less than 1 percent of the population (more people reported themselves to be Asian or Native American, and about 5 percent said they were Latino). Wrote West, "The city has a history with extremist groups, its mayor said in 2022, when 31 extremists were arrested after being found near a LGBTQ pride event in a truck with riot gear and a smoke grenade."

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