hate crime

O’Connell Trial Wraps Up Day One--Protest Follows

Jul 22, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

The trial of Trace O’Connell is underway in Rapid City this week.  
O’Connell is accused of disorderly conduct after a group of Lakota children from American Horse School were doused with beer at a hockey game in January.  
During the incident, the group of school kids and chaperones were allegedly told to “go back to the rez” by those in a corporate box seated above the stands. The school kids and chaperones left the game early.  
The city prosecutor made his case Wednesday, with the defense up Thursday.

Man Accused In Beer Throwing Case To Stand Trial In Theater

Jun 17, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

A Phillip man who is accused of disorderly conduct after he allegedly threw beer and shouted racial slurs at Native American students during a hockey game in January is set to stand trial next month.
But Trace O’Connell won’t sit in front of a jury or in a courtroom.  Rather the trial, before a local magistrate, is set to take place in an auditorium at a local high school to accommodate the crowd that is expected to attend.

Some in the Native community aren’t happy with the misdemeanor charges and question if justice is being served.

Officials with the Rapid City Police Department say an investigation into possible hate crimes at a Rapid City Rush hockey game could take several weeks.    Police spokesman Brendyn Medina says detectives are trying to interview as many witnesses at the game as possible to get all the facts. 

Medina says there were thousands of people in attendance at the hockey game–so gathering statements from all possible witnesses is taking time.

Alleged Assault Not Hate Crime

Mar 28, 2014

An alleged assault in Rapid City highlights some of the fine print in South Dakota’s hate crime law.
This week police responded to a call from a victim who says he was assaulted by a young white male.   
According to the police report, the juvenile suspect drove up to the victim, got out of his truck and asked him if he was gay.  The suspect then allegedly assaulted the victim and drove away.   The victim did not require medical attention.