Judge clears South Dakota man accused of harassing American Indian students at hockey game

A judge has cleared a South Dakota man accused of harassing American Indian children with racial slurs and spilling beer on them at a minor league hockey game in Rapid City.

The Rapid City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1fTp1bG ) Magistrate Judge Eric Strawn filed his decision Tuesday acquitting 41-year-old Trace O'Connell, of Philip.

O'Connell had pleaded not guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in the January incident that spurred protests by Native Americans who believed the charge was too lenient.

Strawn in July oversaw O'Connell's two-trial, which drew as many as 250 spectators. The judge in May had ruled out the possibility of jail time. That meant the case would not go to a jury, and the most punishment O'Connell would have received had he been convicted was a $500 fine.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com