Trace O’Connell acquitted
O’Connell’s disorderly conduct trial ended on July 23 in Rapid City at the Performing Arts Center. This trial was attended by nearly 200 people in support of both O’Connell and the American Horse
students and chaperones.
In a press release, City Attorney Joel Landeen issued a statement, “Overall, I believe the City was able to present the best argument available to support prosecution of disorderly conduct.”
Many Native Americans and supporters of the AHS students might disagree with the case presented by the “City.” Key witnesses and testimony were left unheard during the trial, according to recent interviews conducted by Native Sun News.
This case comes down to Judge Strawn believing several intoxicated (by their own admission) men from rural South Dakota over the sober memories of the alleged victims and others present at the Civic Center during the Jan. 25 incident.
Mayor Steve Allender issued his own statement in the same press release, “…The judge made his decision based on the law and the evidence presented at a criminal trial. The next decision is in the hands of the supporters of the students. I would hope cool heads will prevail.”
The city has received a notice of a possible civil suit by AHS families against the city, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Trace O’Connell and Eagle Sales.
Any civil suit will hold parties financially responsible for any needs the Lakota 57 may accrued related to this occurrence.
“Let us use what we’ve learned from this incident to move forward, together, as we address race relations,” closes Mayor Allender’s statement.
Could the lesson learned and taught to these American Horse School students and other persons from the reservations be to distrust the justice system and that their rights can be violated without repercussion, and that racist behavior is tolerated within the city limits of Rapid City?
(Contact Richie Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org)