Southern Utah police investigate after racist post surfaces on social media

HURRICANE (News4Utah) - Hurricane Police have completed their investigation on a racist social media post. Police say the post was created by two students who go to school at Hurricane High School.

"Our investigators reports were sent to the Washington County Attorney's Office and to the FBI for further investigation and possible charges," said Officer Ken Thompson with the Hurricane Police Department.

Thompson says it was two juveniles responsible for the derogatory photograph and caption posted earlier this week. The post was made at their place of work, but was forwarded to the Washington County School District Offices.

"Once we identified the students we contacted police so they could begin their own investigation to see if it warranted criminal charges," said Steven Dunham with the Washington County School District.

Dunham says they now have plans for sensitivity training at all of their school.

"We are saddened and disgusted by the thoughtlessness and insensitivity of these posts, because they do not reflect Hurricane High School's environment, culture, or the environment or culture we have tried to create here at Washington County School District. As we go forward there will be ongoing educational opportunities for all of our students about kindness, inclusiveness," said Dunham.

Hurricane Police say the post has traveled far and wide and they are receiving calls from all over the country, including death threats towards the girls and their families.

"We remember the words of Dr. King that Hate cannot do away with hate. We move forward with love, so that we can follow the example of Dr. King as we try to eradicate racism in our communities, in our schools, in our environments," said Dunham.

Police are asking anyone who comes across this derogatory post - to not share it, but please delete it, specifically saying do not add fuel to the fire. They say appropriate action will be taken.

Police say the Washington County Attorney's Office will decide on criminal charges, if any, and say charges could take days or weeks.

The NAACP Tri-State Conference President of Idaho, Nevada and Utah, Jeanetta Williams, sent a statement about the post saying in part: "[I am] appalled at the teenage girls in Hurricane, Utah and the words used on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday on Monday. There is nothing amusing about this type of behavior, The local Police is investigating this incident, which they should. The NAACP was formed because of the many lynchings in Springville, Illinois, and as a civil rights organization, we cannot dismiss these girls actions as a prank.”

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