Man Accused of Spraying 57 American Indian Students to be Found Not Guilty

Crowd leaving trial of Trace O'Connell in July 2015

Crowd leaving trial of Trace O’Connell in July 2015

Breaking News

Published September 1, 2015

RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA – News out of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Monday indicates Magistrate Judge Eric Strawn will find Trace O’Connell not guilty on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 of the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.

Native News Online has learned Rapid City city attorney Joel Landeen called a parent on Monday on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to inform the parent of the magistrate’s ruling.

O’Connell was tried without a jury in late July. The magistrate indicated he needed four to six weeks to reach his ruling.

O’Connell was accused of spraying beer on a group of 57 Lakota students from the American Horse Day school at a Rapid City Rush hockey game on January 24, 2015. He allegedly told the students to “go back to the reservation” during the incident. Several American Indians feel O’Connell should have faced more charges, including a hate crime charge.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story that will be updated after the ruling is officially announced.

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