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Payson brothers charged with hate crime against black LDS missionary

Posted at 4:41 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 18:48:59-05

PAYSON, Utah — Two men have been charged with hate crimes after police say they assaulted a black Latter-day Saint missionary while shouting racial slurs.

Charges were filed Monday against brothers Malachi Bay West, 20, and Sebastian Francis West, 19, of Payson.

According to charging documents and police reports, two missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived at a Payson home to teach a family when they encountered a group of 6-7 males in front of the home threatening one of the residents.

One missionary, who is Panamanian and "dark skinned," told the group to leave and told the resident to call the police when they refused. He then pulled out his own phone, which one of the suspects then grabbed and threw it. When the missionary went to pick his phone up, the group allegedly began swearing and yelling racial slurs at him, and one of them brandished spiked brass knuckles.

The missionary attempted to retreat to the residence, and that's when police say the group began to assault him. He was punched in the head, tackled to the ground, then repeatedly punched and kicked by all of the suspects, sustaining injuries to his head, ribs, face and shoulder, according to the report. He said his $1,000 glasses were also broken during the assault.

According to charging documents, members of the group shouted racial slurs at the victim while assaulting him, including:

  • "Go home, you stupid n-----"
  • "This our, town n-----"
  • "Go back to slavery, you stupid n-----"
  • "Go back to bible school, you filthy, stupid n-----"

According to the police, the group never targeted the victim's mission companion, who is white.

Police arrested the two brothers after learning that one suspect called another by the name "Malachi" during the assault, and police said they were "familiar with a young man by the name." Police presented line-ups to the victim, who picked the brothers out of the line-up. They were apprehended and questioned by police, and both admitted to being involved in the assault.

They are each charged with one count of assault with hate crime and group enhancements.

According to the charging documents, the enhancements were added because the suspects intended to "intimidate or terrorize another person" and committed the assault "in concert with two or more persons."