By Sarah Elmquist Squires

Managing Editor

It’s been eight years since Roy Clyde walked into the Center of Hope detox facility and opened fire, killing Stallone Trosper and injuring James “Sonny” Goggles. Clyde, a city parks worker, claimed he was sick of people urinating, defecating and having sex in city parks, and went to the detox center to target and murder “transient” people, according to the affidavit in the crime.

Now, city staff say there’s been an uptick in complaints about public urination and defecation, and the Riverton City Council was poised to amend its public urination ordinance on Tuesday to make defecating in public a misdemeanor disorderly conduct infraction.

Urinating in public was already a crime under city ordinance, but the act of defecation, which many consider more obscene, was not mentioned. “The current City of Riverton Ordinance covers the act of urinating in public but does not clearly specify the act of defecation as a criminal offense,” the council staff report states. “Urinating and defecating in public frighten and offend many people [sic]. These behaviors also create a public health risk because of the spread of diseases and other health hazards stemming from human waste. Such concerns and the smell associated with public urination and defecation discourage people from patronizing establishments.”

Wyoming law does include a prohibition on public indecency; however, the state statute’s language only bars a person exposing themselves “with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of himself or another person.”

In 2016, Clyde was sentenced to life in prison for Trosper’s murder; at the time, some called for his shooting spree at the detox facility to be pursued as a hate crime against Native Americans.

Tension in Riverton has bubbled over in recent weeks, as business owners and residents have complained that public intoxication issues and other crimes have increased as the city’s police force has struggled to recruit and retain officers. At the same time, others have reported crimes and hate speech targeting Native Americans in Riverton is on the rise – with drivers lobbing bottles and racial slurs at Native people on the city’s streets.

The first reading of the amended ordinance was expected just after press time on Tuesday. It must be read and voted upon a total of three times to become city ordinance.