Is justice being served if Trace O'Connell is only charged with disorderly conduct?

Man Who Threw Beer on Native American Kids Charged With Disorderly Conduct

Simon Moya-Smith

A man who hurled beer and racial slurs at a group of Native American kids last month at a hockey game in Rapid City, South Dakota, will be charged with disorderly conduct, officials said Wednesday in a statement.

Suspect Trace O'Connell, 41, of Philip, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 if convicted, police said. O'Connell is accused of pouring beer on a group of Native American students during a Rapid City Rush hockey game at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. He's also accused of telling the kids to "go back to the reservation."

“After an extensive investigation by the Rapid City Police Department, a thorough review of the case by my office as well as the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office, the facts supported bringing this charge,” City Attorney Joel Landeen said in a press release.

RELATED: Beer Poured on Students, Told to "Go Back to the Reservation" at Hockey Game

Before alerting the public to the charge, city officials reached out to the family of the victims at a meeting Wednesday. The meeting ended early due to “tension,” Rapid City Police Media and Communications officer Brendyn Medina wrote in a press release.

Following the news that O’Connell would not face child abuse or assault charges – crimes the families felt were committed – a question and answer portion of the meeting commenced, but it soon turned “chaotic with frustration and high emotions readily displayed by those in attendance.”

“For safety reasons, and out of concerns for the school environment, the decision was made to depart from the gymnasium,” Police Chief Karl Jegeris said.

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shadowdragon42's picture
Submitted by shadowdragon42 on
A march and rally is taking place Feb.26, 2015 in Rapid City to bring attention to these injustices. All Relations Community March Against Racism on Facebook.

sonnyskyhawk's picture
Submitted by sonnyskyhawk on
The subliminal and outright oppression of our people continues to go unabated in this, the new SELMA of the Northern Plains. This is not new behavior in Rapid City. Native people have been subjected to this oppressive treatment from time immemorial. I am an elder now, but I remember my Mom cautioning me, as a young boy, not to venture too far from her when we went to town. I remember visiting small towns like Sturgis, Belle Fouche and Deadwood, being not much different, with the same attitude and obvious disdain towards our Native people. The latest actions perpetrated on our innocent children at this hockey game, does not surprise me one bit.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
One can only wonder how this "trial" would have turned out had the aggressor been NDN and the victims been White. Maybe we can get a Native activist to throw crude oil on White children while shouting, "Go back to Europe!" Who wants to bet that NDN would be charged with a LOT more than just disorderly conduct?

Grayhorse's picture
Submitted by Grayhorse on
I don't understand why this O'Connell won't face child abuse or assault charges? What he did was wrong. You just don't do that to anyone. If they were white he would be charged.

Rick C's picture
Rick C
Submitted by Rick C on
This sounds like a: hate crime noun "a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence." These crimes should be reported to the national media, who profits from following these crimes. That is one way to make things begin to change.