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.
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.