Utah police said they would request hate-crime charges for two men who allegedly attack and beat up a black Mormon missionary in late January, Deseret News reports. Sebastian Francis West, 19, and Malachi Bay West, 20, were both arrested on Thursday for the Jan. 28 incident. The West brothers, along with three or four others, harassed a “black Panamanian” missionary and his companion while they were in Payson, Utah, according to cops. The group used “derogatory, racist slurs” against the man before pushing him onto the ground, “punching him in the head and face, [and] kicking him in the torso,” police said. The group also allegedly told the man to “get out of their ‘hood’ and to go back to where he came from.” Paramedics were called to the scene, but the missionary was not transported to the hospital.
Police said Sebastian West admitted to participating in the assault, and stated that it would be up to Utah County Attorney’s Office to determine if hate crime charges would be filed. A spokesman for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said they were “grateful” their missionaries “escaped serious harm.” “We appreciate the efforts of law enforcement as they investigate this incident,” the church said.