Outside Walmart in Cedar City, Utah, November 1, 2022 | Photography by Jeff Richards, St. George’s News

Street. George – A video taken in a Cedar City Walmart on Halloween night of teenagers dressed in black and in prison uniforms that went viral on social media, sparked outrage locally, internationally, nationally and internationally.

Inside Walmart in Cedar City, Utah, November 1, 2022 | Photography by Jeff Richards, St. George’s News

In the video, which she chose St. They also wear “Jailbird” costumes with black stripes. Two other teenagers were seen dressed as a police officer holding handcuffs.

The person filming the video is heard confronting the teens about the appropriateness of the clothes but they make fun of him.

After initial confusion about whether the accident occurred in Cedar City or at a Walmart in the northern Utah suburb of Cedar Hills, Cedar City Mayor Garth Green told St.

The city and Cedar City Police later released a joint statement that said that while police were not called to the store at 1330 S. Providence Center at the time of the accident, it is now under investigation.

“The Cedar City Police Department and Cedar City officials do not condone this type of activity,” the statement read.

While many social media users, including the person who filmed the video, have spoken out about a hate crime being committed, Iron County District Attorney Chad Dotson said wearing a black face is not technically a hate crime.

“I don’t have enough information about watching the video to make that verdict, but just wearing clothes like that is definitely not a hate crime.”

By definition, a hate crime must be an actual crime, such as theft or assault, which can be linked to hatred of the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

A media representative from Walmart’s offices provided a statement saying that the teens were eventually kicked out of the store.

After learning that these people were in the building, our colleagues immediately ordered them to leave the property.” “We do not tolerate discrimination or degrading behavior of any kind and are extremely disappointed by what is shown in this video.”

Outside Walmart in Cedar City, Utah, November 1, 2022 | Photography by Jeff Richards, St. George’s News

The video, which was initially on online video service TikTok, then spread through Twitter — with “Cedar City” among the most trending topics on Tuesday afternoon — as well as Instagram and Facebook.

It was also spread in national and international media, including what was reported by the British tabloid Daily Mail.

It also caught the attention of the governor of Utah.

“We strongly condemn racism in all its forms and call on all of Utah to reject such offensive stereotypes, slanders and attitudes,” Governor Spencer Cox said in a statement. “We must do better.”

Part of the confusion about where the accident occurred in Utah stems from people on social media trying to identify the teens involved and the schools they attend.

Shauna Lund, a spokeswoman for Iron County School of Education, said that while they could not specifically name the students who might have been involved in the incident, the black-faced teens did not appear to be students in the district.

“Based on the information we have, preliminary results indicate that the people wearing the black face are not students enrolled in Iron County schools,” Lund said, although she did not rule out the possibility that some of those in the video attend local schools. “We have opened an investigation into student participation and will take appropriate action once that investigation is complete.”

George News has learned that high school keyboards in the Cedar City area have been inundated with calls described as harassment as well as accusations of racism in the community.

In July 2021, the Iron County School District released a directing racism However, “Iron County School of Education will not tolerate any action, practice, process or approach that promotes racism.” A month ago, the school board’s action to ban the teaching of critical race theory – the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions for white supremacy – in district schools was He was defeated by one vote.

In a file photo, a check mark on Cedar High School campus shows the ‘Redmen’ mascot, Cedar City, Utah, Jan 15, 2019 | Photography by Jeff Richards. St. George News / Cedar City News

In 2019, the board removed the “Redmen” mantra from Cedar High because some decided it disparaged Native Americans and continued to draw criticism from those who say it’s not disrespectful. In another recent incident involving race in Cedar City, an elementary school student said that students, parents, and administrators bullied her because she was half black.

The spread of some information that has been proven false has led to some minors and institutions being harassed both online and offline on Tuesday.

Besides condemning the act, Cedar City officials also warned against harassing people online or jumping to conclusions without confirmation — including accusing teens or institutions not involved in the incident.

In their statement, Cedar City officials said: “While topics like this can cause an emotional reaction, we encourage everyone to be careful when sharing videos of events on social media, including any electronic or other harassment that could potentially lead to abuse. associated with this type of accident.

University of Cambridge and Oslo Metropolitan Researcher Rebecca Larsen, author of July study is often cited About how Facebook uses people’s personal data, St.

“My first response is that the United States needs more regulation on protecting minors around this kind of thing, but also protecting people in general,” said Larsen, who grew up in Utah before becoming an internationally known researcher.

Larsen pointed to the privacy measures in place across the European Union known as the “right to be forgotten” where people can submit their information to be removed from search engines if it is incorrect or hurt – even mistakes made in their youth.

“Regulations were pushed because of people who did things when they weren’t adults made it online, and then prevented them from getting jobs or just affecting their personal lives. But the US doesn’t have anything like that,” Larsen said. by search engines is inaccurate, no longer relevant, potentially harmful and not related to a public figure… This person can request that these search results be removed from Google.”

St. George News/Cedar City News Reporters Nick Yamashita Jeff Richards contributed to this story.

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