Panguitch, UT – A 19-year-old Utah woman was charged with a hate crime after “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign at a gas station in Garfield County.
The probable cause affidavit for the woman’s arrest said that the incident occurred as a Garfield County police officer was making a traffic stop at the gas station, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The affidavit said the police officer looked over and saw a woman “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign next to where the traffic stop was conducted, crumble it up in a destructive manner and throw it into a trash can all while smirking in an intimidating manner towards me.”
The officer asked the woman where she had gotten the sign she was destroying and she said it belonged to her mother, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The affidavit said the officer told the woman that the local sheriff’s department had created those specific signs and said that the officer believed “she had acquired it in our community.”
The woman was detained and read her Miranda rights, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The officer said in the complaint that she gave “inconsistent stories” about where she had gotten the sign and ultimately claimed she had found it on the ground.
“Due to [the woman] destroying property that did not belong to her in a manner to attempt to intimidate law enforcement, I placed her under arrest,” the affidavit read.
Authorities treated the allegations as a “hate crime enhanced allegation” due to “the demeanor displayed by [the woman] in attempts to intimidate law enforcement while destroying a ‘Pro Law Enforcement’ sign,” according to the complaint.
Utah law says that any offense committed with the intent to “intimidate or terrorize another person or with reason to believe that his action would intimidate or terrorize that person” is subject to having their charges enhanced, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
If convicted, the woman could face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500.