POCATELLO — Despite allegedly threatening a local family while wearing a ski mask and brandishing a medieval sword because of a “Vote BLM” sign on their fence, a Pocatello man will not face hate crime-related charges.
In relation to the Sept. 4 incident that occurred on the 700 block of West Halliday Street, Bryan E. Huff, 31, of Pocatello, has been charged with one felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanors for carrying a concealed weapon without a license and resisting and obstructing officers, according to court records.
The incident began to unfold around 1:40 p.m. Sept. 4 when Huff climbed over a chain link fence on the 700 block of West Halliday Street, according to police reports the Idaho State Journal obtained Thursday afternoon. The fence Huff hopped over has a sign that reads “Vote BLM,” with a heart in the middle, created by pushing colored plastic cups through the openings of the chain link.
The homeowner, his wife and a family friend were in the backyard when they heard the chain link rattle, said Pocatello police, adding that the trio looked over to see a man they identified as tall and skinny wearing a backwards baseball cap, a black ski mask, yellow backpack and a sword.
After climbing over the fence, Huff allegedly demanded to know what was the purpose of the sign on the fence before unsheathing a sword from his waistband and telling the group, “It’s going down today,” and that, “Today is the day of reckoning,” police said.
The homeowner told his wife that Huff was armed with a knife and to go inside the house and call the police, to which Huff allegedly responded back saying, “This is not a knife, this is a sword,” police said. Huff allegedly told the family that he would be back later that night and then jumped back over the fence and left the area.
Pocatello police described the weapon as a “miniature Excalibur sword” about 14 inches long with a thick blade, a pommel and a guard above the handle.
Police said both the homeowner and his wife said they were afraid for their lives during the encounter and were afraid to leave their home until Huff was captured.
Huff was located shortly afterward walking on South Bannock Highway and took him into custody for aggravated assault. In addition, police say Huff had warrants out for his arrest.
Huff was transported to the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello where he currently remains incarcerated.
Hate crimes in Idaho are charged under a state statute defined as malicious harassment. According to the code, “It shall be unlawful for any person, maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin.” The statute does not include
Huff appeared in front of 6th District Judge Eric Hunn for an arraignment hearing on Tuesday via video conference from the jail, during which the judge set Huff’s bond at $10,000 and issued a no-contact order between Huff and the alleged victims in this case.
Huff is due back in court on Sept. 21 for a preliminary hearing, during which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence against him to send his case to trial.
If convicted of all the charges against him, Huff faces up to seven years in prison and up to $51,000 in fines.
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