Dispute with racial undertones unfolds at Park City coffee shop
Latino worker, an American, told to go back to own country, manager says
The Park City Police Department continues to investigate an episode at a Main Street coffee shop involving a dispute about an American flag that was reported to include racial undertones.
The dispute occurred on Saturday, March 4 at approximately 9 p.m., Java Cow said. Rebecca Williams, the manager, said in an interview a small American flag, perhaps 2 inches by 3 inches and held up by a magnet, slid down and an employee pushed it back up, possibly leaving it upside down.
A woman customer saw the flag and said one of the Java Cow workers, a Latino, pushed it upside down, Williams said. The woman confronted the staffers and was irate, she said.
“Who moved the flag? Who turned the flag upside down,” the woman told the staffers, Williams said.
The woman’s husband and friends then started speaking in an angry manner to the Java Cow worker, a teenager who was born and raised in Park City, she said. Three men and at least two women were involved, according to Williams.
“‘Go back to your country.’ Just hurtful, hateful stuff that shouldn’t be said to anyone,” Williams said as she described the language the people used at the boy.
They told the teen they hoped his family was deported to Mexico and died as they started to scream, Williams said. They refused to leave when asked. A man with the woman pushed the Java Cow manager and threw an ice-cream cup at him when he tried to intervene, Williams said.
The people were told the police would be called. At least one of the men laughed as he said he was a police officer, Williams said. She said Java Cow wants to “move on from the hate.”
Wade Carpenter, the chief of police, said an officer was sent to Java Cow to respond to a case reported as disorderly conduct. The people had left by the time the police arrived. Carpenter said the police investigation is continuing with the possibility several people were acting in a disorderly manner. The Police Department is not investigating the case as a hate crime, he said.
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The Park City Police Department said there have been seven arrests or arrest warrants issued for people suspected to have been involved at some point with a smash-and-grab burglary of a Main Street jewelry store in the spring.