Teen who stomped on, crumpled pro-police sign charged with hate crime | Inquirer News
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Teen who stomped on, crumpled pro-police sign charged with hate crime

/ 04:27 PM July 15, 2021
Police, Siren

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A 19-year-old college student who defaced a pro-police “back the blue” sign has been charged with a hate crime in Utah, United States.

The teenager, identified as Lauren Gibson, was part of a caravan last week when one of her friends got pulled over by police, as per The Daily Beast on July 12.

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Gibson said the officer was aggressive and wrote her friend a ticket for speeding, which prompted her to take the rusted pro-police sign she and her friends found on the side of the road.

After the officer was done writing the ticket, Gibson reportedly waved the sign at the cop and then stomped on it.

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Gibson is also accused of crumpling it up “in a destructive manner” and throwing it in the trash can, court documents said as cited by the news outlet.

The officer who wrote the affidavit was identified as Sheriff’s Deputy Cree Carter, the same officer involved in the incident. He also accused Gibson of “smirking” at him “in an intimidating manner.”

Gibson is being charged with disorderly conduct and criminal mischief with a hate crime enhancement, according to the report. County prosecutors claim the said crime was committed with “the intent to intimidate or terrorize another person,” which violates Utah’s 2019 hate crime law.

“Due to the demeanor displayed by Gibson in attempts to intimate law enforcement while destroying a ‘Pro Law Enforcement’ sign the allegations are being treated as a ‘Hate Crime’ enhanced allegation,” Carter was cited as writing in the affidavit. Gibson is facing a maximum of one year in prison for the said crime.

Gibson also told the news outlet that she does not see herself as “anti-police,” but believes that they do abuse their power at times. She noted that she only did that to the pro-police sign to make her friend “feel better.” She also admitted being shocked by the hate crime charge, saying, “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”

“If it was a dentist’s sign or something and I just crushed a dentist sign or something in front of them, like, nothing would have happened,” she was quoted as saying. “It’s the same thing. it’s just an occupation.”

Under Utah’s 2019 hate crime law, law enforcement officers have a protected status applied to races, religions and sexual orientations.

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In a similar case last year, 32-year-old Joseph Dawson was also charged with a hate crime for defacing another “back the blue sign” by spray-painting “bisexual” over the word “blue,” as per report. Ian Biong/JB

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TAGS: Hate crime, Police, speeding, teenagers, Utah
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