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Utah woman accused of yelling racial slurs at Black family arrested

A woman has been yelling racial slurs, curse words and more — not only at the adults, but their kids, too.
Utah woman accused of yelling racial slurs at Black family arrested
Posted at 1:02 PM, Dec 15, 2023

A Utah woman caught on video allegedly spewing racial comments toward a Black family has been taken into custody after being arrested on outstanding warrants.

Midvale Mayor Marcus Stevenson said on social media that Kathryn Smith was arrested Tuesday evening, but not for the comments she allegedly made. Outstanding warrants for Smith included disorderly conduct in August, as well as property damage and destruction after she allegedly ripped up the family’s garden.

There was also an arrest warrant for an assault in June after documents said Smith forcibly poked the victim's pregnant stomach before pushing her with both hands in the stomach. Smith, 67, was later released on her own recognizance after posting a $1,000 bond.

The arrest comes after officials and local law enforcement have been dealing with public outcry over disturbing videos on social media apparently showing Smith making hateful comments right outside the family's home in suburban Salt Lake City, with many wondering why nothing had been done to protect the family. 

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On Tuesday, the Unified Police Department said the harassment was being investigated and that they were working with other social service providers to work on a long-term solution for everyone involved.

"I'm hopeful that this is a positive step for the healing of the targeted family, the affected neighborhood, Ms. Smith, and our entire community," Stevenson said.

According to the family's attorney, the woman believed to be Smith has been yelling racial slurs, curse words and more — not only at the adults, but their kids, too.

"It's super gut-wrenching and heart-throbbing to see what this family is going through," said Rae Duckworth, the operating chairperson for the Black Lives Matter Utah chapter. "So I can’t imagine what they’re actually experiencing.”

The family, who did not want to be named, said they've captured around 100 of these incidents on their doorbell camera.

“They’ve used every resource given, and there's just been no accountability for this type of behavior that is just inhumane and disgusting," Duckworth said.

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The family is working with an attorney, Tyler Ayres, to try to do something about it. He says Smith's actions can be classified as crimes.

"Disturbing the peace, harassment, assault, battery, trespassing, all of these things — and we’re not even getting into the technical civil rights ones," Ayres said. "Those are just basic common law claims."

Videos show Smith allegedly shouting the n-word at the family, along with other hateful comments. Duckworth says it's important for people to see reality and stand up to hate.

"It’s amplifying a very serious situation and experience, living as a Black person in Utah, that I don’t think we discuss enough," she said.

"[The family] bought their first house and it's pretty awesome, and then they have to put up with this. It's very disheartening to them; it's saddening to me," Ayres added.

Despite the frustration, Duckworth says it has been heartwarming to watch the community come together to support the family, although the question of what took so long for law enforcement to react remains.

"Some people are saying this is a mental health crisis. OK, so why didn’t a mental health crisis team respond and do something constructive?" Duckworth questioned. "Then they're saying they’ve exhausted every round of police. OK, so where is the police reform that holds people accountable for hate crimes? Where is that?"

This story was originally published by Mythili Gubbi at Scripps News Salt Lake City.

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