Brigham Young University is still investigating racist insults In Duke volleyball player last week Partly because the campus police say it doesn’t look like the guy who got banned in the end is the one yelling the N-word.
BYU Police Lieutenant George Besendorfer said Tuesday that based on an initial review of surveillance footage of the crowd, the person who was banned was not shouting anything while the Duke player was doing.
“When we watched the video, we didn’t notice this behavior from him,” he said.
Duke’s sophomore Rachel Richardson, the only black player on the team, said she heard “very clearly” about “very strong and negative racial slur” coming from the student section during Friday’s game while she was serving.
“Several BYU Athletics employees reviewed video from BYUtv and other cameras at the facility that the volleyball team can access to review the film. This has been ongoing since immediately after game night,” Brigham Young University associate athletic director John McBride said in a statement. Friday.” The person who was banned is the person Duke identified as using racial slurs. However, we couldn’t find any evidence that this person was using insults in the match.”
Based on these reports, it could mean that the second person, who shouted sedition, has not yet been identified and no action has been taken against him by Provo University.
BYU is asking fans in attendance to share video and accounts from the match to help with the investigation. At the volleyball game the next day, BYU Sports Director Tom Holmo encouraged them, too, asking them to “be brave to take a stand and look after each other and, most importantly, our guests, our guests we’ve invited to come and play here.”
On Sunday – a day later – someone left a threat via voicemail to an athletic trainer at Brigham Young University, the police report said. The report does not identify the trainer or provide details about the anonymous message.
The report, with redaction of names, was obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune through a public records request. The memo says the banned fan approached Duke’s volleyball player after the game on Friday in an interaction that reportedly made her feel uncomfortable. The police report says the fan “confronted” the unidentified player, but does not say if anything was said.
The player’s family said a white man approached her and asked her to watch her back.
Then, though, Duke coaches and players identified this man as the same person who shouted the N word from Richardson’s BYU student division, according to a police report.
Police spoke to the man, who is identified in the report as a Utah Valley University student, and he denied shouting any insults; He said the only thing he shouted out was that players “shouldn’t hit the ball in the net”. He admitted that he approached the Duke player after the match, thinking that she was a friend of his who played in BYU (their clothes are of the same color, the officer noted).
An officer later reviewed the footage, according to the report, writing, “Nothing was seen in the game movie which leads me to believe ‘the man’ was the one who was commenting on the player who complained about being called an N-word.”
During the second set of the bout, the officer noticed that the UVU student was not present when Richardson was serving, around which time Richardson’s family and Duke officials said insults were being shouted. Later, when she was serving again, he was playing on his phone, the officer wrote.
But the officers said the sports department wanted to ban the man, so the school went ahead with the process. According to the report, the officer told the man not to attend any future games “indefinitely.”
In a statement after the match, Brigham Young University only said that a person “identified by Duke” has been banned.
When asked if the police reviewed the footage to see who was yelling sedition – because they were able to see that the banned UVU student was not – Bisendorfer said the police department was no longer looking at the video.
He said the task of reviewing the footage had been taken over by BYU Athletics and the school’s communications department.
“There are a bunch of videos,” Besendorfer said. “Athletics and college outreach, they look at all of that.”
It is not clear if any of the staff there has forensic expertise investigating the video footage. A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night on this question.
It also raises questions about what will be published in the investigation. The BYU Police Department is subject to public records requests. Other departments, including athletics, at the private school run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not.
So far, Bisendorfer also said, no one from the student department or anywhere else at last week’s volleyball match came to BYU police to report the person responsible for the slander. He also said that no one came forward to say he heard screaming during the match. appealed to the students who had heard the comments to come forward; They can contact the Police Department, he said, at 801-422-2222.
“We hope someone will,” he said.
according to School Honor CodeStudents are supposed to advance in situations like this to “maintain the highest standards in their personal conduct of honor, integrity, morals, and consideration for others”.
Due to safety concerns raised by the Duke players, their next match against Ryder was moved from the Provo Campus the following day to inform Richardson of hearing the slander. BYU also played again on Saturday, with Holmo urging any fans who were witnesses to come forward.
“As children of God, we are responsible,” he added. “Our job is to love each other and treat everyone with respect. And that didn’t happen. We failed so much.”
He told CNN on Monday that if a student was involved, they would risk expulsion.
Mismatched timeline of events
The police report also provides for the first time a more detailed timeline of what happened and BYU’s response during the match – some of which don’t match up with what players have told them.
Richardson said she alerted Duke’s coaching staff upon hearing the racist slurs in the second set. At that point, Duke’s coaches told both the officials and BYU coaches, she said.
According to the police report, BYU told an officer about the problem during the third set of the match and elected to place a police officer near Duke’s bench before the fourth set. The officer said that no one recognized the person who had insulted them at the time.
Richardson’s family said a fan in the student section repeatedly yelled the “N” every time she played ball. Richardson later noted in a racial slurs statement It escalated during the match and some comments developed into threats caused [her] To feel insecure.”
In his report, the officer said that he did not personally hear any insults while standing there, clearly listening. He said all he heard was BYU fans calling certain Duke players by their first names.
Holmo also said that BYU sent four guides and an officer to the stands looking for the person who said the racial slur, as he spoke during the interview with CNN on Monday.
Richardson has since said she wanted the game to continue at that point, and felt her coaches had taken the necessary steps to stop the action.
“This action was enough at that moment to make me feel visible and heard,” Richardson said in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday.
In the fourth set, though, Richardson said racial insults escalated. She also said that some of her teammates were mocked by the crowd.
“In the fourth set, we’re back on that side, and it’s as if the atmosphere of the student section has changed,” she told ESPN. “Even my black teammates who were off the bench, who weren’t playing, were called up, and they pointed out why it was really baffling. That’s when the racist insults and harassment increased more and more.”
The police officer said he spoke to coaching staff from both teams that night and learned that Duke’s staff were angry that he had not taken any action during the fourth set while the taunting continued. They said that the black players were only called by name – while none of the white players were called.
“I told the sports staff that I had never heard a single racist comment,” he wrote in his report. The officer reported that he also spoke to others there who said they had not heard any slander.
BYU banned a UVU student from campus after the match.
What came next
After the match, Richardson’s family said a white man approached her and asked her to watch her back. It is unclear if this is the time when a banned UVU student approaches his friend, according to a police report.
The next morning, he met Richardson Holmo, BYU’s athletic director, at the team’s hotel. Heather Olmsted, a volleyball coach at Beirut University, said she spoke with Richardson at a separate time.
Richardson outlined what she wanted Holmoe and BYU to do, including “the staff and players who are subject to education and training to better deal and prevent the racist, ignorant and foolish behaviors displayed by their fans during the match.”
“I felt very much heard and felt seen during that conversation,” she said of her meeting. “I could feel and could see how truly sorry and shocked he was at what had happened.”
She said several BYU volleyball players have also reached out to her “to express how sorry they are.”
“This is an amazing group of girls,” Richardson said. “I acted very sporty before, after and during the match.”
She added, “I see it just as an opportunity to raise awareness of the fact that such racist incidents still happen. It’s 2022 and should be unacceptable, but they still happen.”
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