Park City not immune to ‘(expletive) off and speak English’ behavior, City Councilor says |

Park City not immune to ‘(expletive) off and speak English’ behavior, City Councilor says

A verbal confrontation on a Park City bus in November that started after someone was heard speaking a foreign language prompted comments to a member of the Park City Council from people surprised such an incident happened in the community.

City Councilor Steve Joyce during a recent meeting briefly mentioned he received the comments. He spoke as Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council continued their wide-ranging discussions about social equity. The elected officials did not spend time discussing the recent verbal confrontation, but the mention by Joyce indicated the incident continues to draw attention two weeks after it was reported to the authorities.

The Park City Police Department on Nov. 13 received the complaint from someone who was riding a bus on Snow Creek Drive. The police said a man was riding the bus while a woman was speaking an unspecified foreign language. The man told the woman and her friend to “(expletive) off and speak English,” the Police Department was told.

It was a rare police report of a verbal confrontation based on the language someone was speaking. The Police Department was not sure what language the woman was using when the man confronted them.

Spanish is widely spoken in Park City while the community draws an international clientele speaking a range of other languages. The Police Department said shortly afterward the verbal confrontation did not involve apparent criminal activity. The police said the man did not threaten the people who were speaking another language on the bus.

Joyce said during the meeting the people who approached him might not have done so if City Hall was not pursuing a social equity program as one of the municipal government’s priorities. They might have instead learned of the incident and had an emotional reaction without choosing to speak to him about the incident, Joyce said.

Joyce in an interview said he received comments from three people as well as friends of his about the verbal confrontation. He said the people who spoke to him were “surprised and disappointed this kind of thing goes on in Park City.” He said the incident was “mind-numbing.”

“I just find this kind of behavior disgusting. It’s sad that people can still have those views,” Joyce said.

He said the sort of thinking that led the man to make the comment is present in Park City, as it is elsewhere in the nation.

“We’re not immune to this kind of behavior,” Joyce said, adding that the masses in Park City would be “sad if not disgusted” by the incident on the bus.

The talks about social equity involve a series of topics designed to ensure Park City is a welcoming community to people of varying ages, income levels, backgrounds and ability levels. Park City’s Latino residents, many speaking English and Spanish, are one of the interest groups involved in the social equity discussions. Latinos are, by a wide margin, the largest minority group in Park City as large numbers started arriving during an economic expansion in the 1990s.

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