Press "Enter" to skip to content

Beerchucker Lawyer Says Potential Lawsuit About Money, Not Racism

As Rapid City braces for the racially charged disorderly conduct trial of Trace O’Connell tomorrow and Thursday, a Minneapolis lawyer has filed notice with the U.S. District Court of South Dakota that he may sue Rapid City, Eagle Sales, O’Connell, and other folks in the now infamous guest box at the Rapid City Rush hockey game last January for throwing beer, racial insults, cuss words, and bottle caps and frisbees at Indian kids.

O’Connell attorney Mike Butler responds to Hopper’s official threat with scorn:

The notice to bring a lawsuit against Rapid City, the Civic Center, Eagle Sales, my client, and others is little more than a shakedown for money, captioned as a lawsuit claiming racism. I am familiar with the investigation. This case is not about racism, but it is about a few who are advancing a personal agenda and using race to do it. The lawyer filing notice should take some time to inform himself of the investigation and do his homework [Mike Butler, in Jim Stasiowski, “Lawsuit Possible in Rush Hockey Game Alleged Racism Incident,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.07.19].

The comment section beneath this RCJ story is another prime example of anonymi shouting past each other. Let’s hope the trial this week is quieter and more focused on facts.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-21

    In its traditional racist fashion, the Journal homepage has provided three links to this same story, making sure the “Indian experts” don’t miss it and repeat the same racist comments they make on anything related to Native Americans.

  2. Porter Lansing 2015-07-21

    Mr. Butler and Mr. Cornelius … That’s what racism is, gentlemen. Advancing a personal agenda and using race to do it. Your agendas are that white people are unduly put upon by “Indian Experts” and that white people are burdened by being accused of racism, unjustly. Balderdash! You’re advancing that preposterous position and using race to do it. That’s bigotry and it’s no wonder you’re nervous about your involvement.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-07-21

    Cory, I’ll trust you’ll keep us updated on the trial as it progresses? Should be interesting, and at times, nauseating.

    Porter, what in hell are you trying to say and to whom? I can’t make any sense of your comment.

  4. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-21

    Deb, you are smarter than that. What Porter is saying is obvious.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-21

    Why would I be nervous about my involvement?

  6. jerry 2015-07-21

    It seemed pretty clear to me that there would be a justifiable lawsuit against the city for serving alcohol to an intoxicated group. This happens all the time in the real world of bars and other venues and it makes not one bit of difference if it is white dudes or black dudes or any other dudes or even dudetts. If you own a bar or serve alcohol, you must make sure that those you are serving can handle their themselves. This bunch seemed to have disturbed the peace as a result of too much brew or maybe something stronger. Where were the police and or the city management to monitor this event? Does the owners of the sky box have responsibilities for those who are utilizing it or is it anything goes because you have the moolah to afford the gizmo in the first place? Interesting events for me to follow…

  7. Roger Elgersma 2015-07-21

    Porter is correct, the whites are using racism to promote their position of acting like they are innocent of racism. Complete hypocrites.

  8. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-21

    South Dakota Supreme Court has decided that “dram shop” acts are unconstitutional in South Dakota. Bar owners have no responsibility for behavior of patrons, death on highways, or whatever.

  9. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-07-21

    Oh. Now I get it. Thanks Roger.

  10. jerry 2015-07-21

    Dram Shop Law does not have a “whatever clause” in it. There was no death nor was there physical injury so the Dram Shop Law is not applicable. No one was driving and no one crashed.

  11. barry freed 2015-07-22

    Two witnesses have testified under oath in Court. Both said beer was spilled when a goal was made and the crowd reacted. They said the spiller apologized and was met with loud, angry, and foul language from Poor Bear. Ugly words were then exchanged by both men.

  12. jerry 2015-07-22

    barry freed, I guess all that will be examined in a court if the suit happens. It will then be up to a jury to make the final say. I am not at the trial like you are so I am not privy to the two witnesses that made that statement. My guess also would be that others disputed the two witnesses or had a different take on what happened. When did they say that in front of a judge? I was under the mistaken belief that the trial would begin today, it is now 8.30 and you already know?

  13. Craig 2015-07-22

    “Let’s hope the trial this week is quieter and more focused on facts.”

    Cory – that would be nice, but it seems a bit hypocritical for you to say it when you label O’Connell as a “Beerchucker” in your title before all of the facts are in. Prior accounts differ with some saying beer was purposefully spilled while others testifying that the beer was tipped over on accident during the game. I’ve also heard there were some Frisbees tossed into the crowd by the even promoters and at least one person has claimed the Frisbee hit a beer and spilled it which resulted in a small amount falling onto the spectators directly below.

    I wasn’t there – I have zero idea what happened and I suspect parties on both sides have used the past few months to work on their stories so they sound as beneficial as possible to their case. I also am sure others who weren’t directly involved have been coached on what to say and how to say it, so perhaps we will never really know what happened.

    However, it hardly seems fair to label anyone as a beerchucker until the testimony is on record. I’ll also admit I find the term “beerchucker” a bit off-putting since it bears such a strong resemblance to a racist term itself. I’m assuming that is a coincidence, but I think we can do better.

    People seem to already have their minds made up in regards to this case, so the verdict won’t be met with any sense of relief. Regardless of the outcome, people will still be left thinking that either this was an innocent event not worthy of criminal charges, or O’Connell is the modern day equivalent to George Custer and should be punished for his crimes against American Indians. Regardless of what facts might come to light during the trial – opinions aren’t likely to change… so this is more of a sideshow than a trial.

    One can’t help but wonder if all parties were the same race would this conflict still exist. I dare say no – so then I am left wondering if this was about race from the beginning, or have we made it about race to make ourselves feel better.

    Is it too early to predict justice will not be served regardless of the verdict?

  14. barry freed 2015-07-22

    They testified a week or two ago as they were unable to attend today or tomorrow. It was reported by the Journal that one witness was in the sky box, the other was in the lower seats.

    If there are conflicting testimonies, that means some are committing perjury. All witnesses’ testimony should be investigated and any perjurers be dealt the full measure of the Law.

  15. jerry 2015-07-22

    In my opinion, sometimes when alcohol is involved, you do tend to get conflicting reports. That is why a civil case gets the answers sometimes a little better than what this case ends with in the next couple of days. The Simpson trial ended with ole OJ being acquitted, but the civil case was not won by him and his team with the same evidence. Of course race does fit into this as there were words and actions that have been obvious since it was first reported. We love to dance around the question of race and its implications, but it exists. Alcohol makes it exist even with more vile.

    Regarding perjury, I doubt if that will enter the picture in these proceedings starting today. These kinds of testimonies will be taken into account if it goes further than the proceedings soon to be underway.

    Regarding beerchucker, we shall see what the judge says. If he finds the defendant guilty as charged, then it is what it is. If the judge finds him not guilty of deliberately doing the deed, then who did chuck the beer and how much beer did the beerchucker chuck.

  16. jerry 2015-07-22

    One other question comes to me regarding the lax security at certain venues and that is what could happen if someone should start shooting up the place. What if this incident would have caused a fight? Yep, a fight at a hockey game, hmmm. If the complex does not police the occupants, isn’t that an open invitation for violence?

  17. happy camper 2015-07-22

    People often can’t see reverse bigotry or their own bigotry for some reason. Maybe they feel it’s justified, pay back or whatever even though it may be generations later. Some are so angry they just can’t see straight, which is counter productive to moving forward.

  18. jerry 2015-07-22

    You may be right on that happy camper. That would help to explain why the beer was allegedly tossed in the first place.

  19. happy camper 2015-07-23

    If beer wasn’t thrown with intention to harm, then we’ll know any true crime and motive, but we have to convict on facts, not opinion. “Beerchucker” is over the top inflammatory. Shocking headline like a gore magazine. Probably everyone knows some beerchucker, but don’t discriminate against beerchuckers you don’t know. Did they do it? Why did only one adult Native American walk away feeling insulted? How did the kids feel actually involved in the exchange? She was mad the white guys wouldn’t listen to her is what I got out of the transcript. She did not want the two groups to engage but they were saying kids from the res can really yell. Pretty stupid white guys who were chugging and getting tribal. What is they were just being loud, fun-loving intoxicated white guys? Have you ever met one? There’s quite a few around these parts. But there’s been a long investigation. Is there no faith in the Rapid City police department? That would be a big problem. But then there will be the sworn testimony. I’m interested in the truth. I want to know what really happened. If that is possible to get a real close understanding of the true dynamics. Any assumptions beyond that understanding are pure speculation reflected by all the emotions expressed in this case.

  20. happy camper 2015-07-23

    And worth noting I think I remember the transcripts saying the white guys wanted the kids to scream along with them. She didn’t want the groups to interact. Maybe drinking adults shouldn’t interact with kids, but it is an open venue. And it is just possible those white guys meant no harm. I know some very fun-loving white guys. They like ball games and getting crazy, so it’s a long step to racism with only one real witness making that accusation. The outcome is too important to not care.

  21. Sam 2015-07-23

    It doesn’t matter how much beer was chucked or the how much hate was quantified..There were children and racism involved….and now the world is focused on Trace O’Connell, Eagle Sales…and Rapid City.
    Racism is racism, abuse is abuse and children were involved. Time to pay for your play Trace….et al.

  22. leslie 2015-07-23

    the lawyer doesn’t know it is about money, does he? it is in his OPINION. He is intentionally poisoning the public’s perception of the plaintiffs motives, including the judge, the new mayor, the city council and the city attorney. the 180 notice is a legal requirement prior to filing. really no need for the lawyer’s comment.

  23. leslie 2015-07-23

    like cory, hc u should go get a law degree and spend 10 years practicing.

    would “alleged” spbeerchucker make you feel better? i like cory’s humor. yes it IS an open venue, charged with emotion, understandably, and for a population of 20 plus thousand Indian people who regularly use this same civic center, the incident considerably shortens the step toward racism.

    law enforcement nationally has squandered credibility. the elected republican states attorney apparently was not going to prosecute beerchucker. a likely not guilty in this case is not going to be very welcome and will deepen distrust. this is happening across the country. confederate flags and peaks named for woman killers are not in the best interest of our security.

    anybody remember EB5? That makes 175,000 dems who may not trust state law enforcement, added to many Indians in the state (some 80,000 pop.) who may have adequate reason to distrust them. it IS a sad state of affairs, such distrust generated on partisanship and racism.

    and into this maw, gettysberg is revealed to have made a stupid branding judgement, and like chamberlain, is too stubborn in their white privilege to serve ALL the people.

    Reverse bigotry is the mantra of the privileged.

    we dems are forced to allow republicans to save face, over and over.

    our republican leadership is anything like open-minded, progressive and representative of the needs of the majority of SD’s population. “47-senator letters” our elected officials sign on to, for purely partisan purposes, is the height of deception. this letter is no better than the altered video.

    poring gas on flames, shouting fire in a theater, scorched-earth obstructionism, “bring it on”…its all the same thing. done by republicans, and noem, rounds and thune-despicable.

  24. jerry 2015-07-23

    One thing is for certain, the guy that chucked the beer in the first place is in front of a judge. We can call him many things, but the one thing we can be sure of is that racial slurs were used against the children (remember them?) So don’t get your undies in a big bunch over beer chucker and loose the sight of what happened after the beer was chucked. The humiliation these children went through during real time, must have been very frightening in a supposed safe environment they were invited to. Children sometimes see things in a different way for self protection and that is why any abuse that happens to them is so difficult to pin down. No matter what the outcome is of this, one thing is for certain, the sleazy lawyer for Eagle Sales got his wish by tossing in the “shakedown” bullshit to further cloud the water. Perfect right wing innuendo to make the victims guilty of the crime. I hope the judge see through that and gives the man the maximum he can give, which is really very little. The sleaze bag lawyer knows his fanny is grass unless he can make the case of blackmail in public opinion and from some of the posts, he has done his job.

  25. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-23

    ” jerry
    2015-07-21 at 21:43

    Dram Shop Law does not have a “whatever clause” in it. There was no death nor was there physical injury so the Dram Shop Law is not applicable. No one was driving and no one crashed.”

    Read much? SD has no dram shop law. It means the sellers of beer are not responsible no matter what testimony turns up.

    And, how did all those innocent Native American children know it was beer that spilled on them? “Coyote” story telling is a Native American tradition. It has too much in common with Islamic idea that it is completely acceptable to lie to infidels in the name of Islam.

    I have no sympathy for alcohol consumption and the daily carnage that results is a national disgrace. I am amazed how many whites and non-whites have time to waste protesting this insignificant event. Not surprising that some drunk spun a can around his head like throwing a rope. Incidentally, did any of the spilled beer land on whites?

    Why didn’t Native American adults dial “911” on their cellphones if this was such a terrible, traumatizing event?

  26. happy camper 2015-07-23

    Well, it’s the lawyer’s conclusion. His job is to protect his client. O’Connell has already been so muddied so I don’t know if it wrong or harmful to share his public defense since it is currently so skewed against him. This man is going to have to live the rest of his life with his reputation, and if he stays in South Dakota shouldn’t he have the right to clear his name if he is innocent? And get media coverage in regards to his innocence. It’s possible they went to the ball game just wanting some fun and camaraderie with the night ended badly for everybody. I do wonder if the chaperon had just let the kids join in and scream along with the guys, it’s probably what the kids wanted to do anyway, was scream along about the game and be part of the crowd. But stick in the mud wouldn’t let her kids join. It was a hockey game for goodness sake not church. Those kids would have probably loved to have gone back home and told the other kids how everyone was screaming for the same team. It’s why people go to games, to be on the same side. Even if you don’t like sports it’s the reason they go. They may have all been on the same side which didn’t set right with their chaperon. Gettin too chummy. You can’t like those people over there because of what they did to us. Kids get filled with this stuff. If you put color aside then you simply believe in human rights which crosses all the boundaries. It is 2015. Everybody has rights. As it turns out even gay people. We need to respect everybody’s.

  27. jerry 2015-07-23

    I read a lot. I also know enough to know that the law can be used as the law sees fit. I have no idea if the damn Dram Shop Law will be used or not, do you? There is something that is in the works though that may have a lot to do with the over consumption of alcohol. I did read the Dram Shop Law and there is no “whatever clause” in it. You must practice that lesson on reading as well Mr. Wiken and find that “whatever clause” you speak of.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-23

    Craig, of all the various details, it seems pretty clear that someone had beer, and that someone chucked it.

  29. Craig 2015-07-23

    Actually Cory that appears to be very much in dispute. There were witnesses who claim some beer may have been inadvertently spilled during a celebration and/or when a Frisbee was tossed. Only later did an accusation surface about beer being spilled on purpose.

    Thus when you label someone as a “beerchucker” before he has been proven to be guilty or before any evidence has been presented to support the label it resembles an inflammatory headline.

    Let’s all admit we will never really know what transpired because even those who were there cannot agree on the facts. Statements made the night of the event don’t match what is being said today…. so which version do we trust?

    Do I have to be the one who says what everyone already knows? If there is reasonable doubt as to the guilt of someone, then he will not be convicted. So is he still a ‘beerchucker’ if he is found not guilty? In the eyes of many – I suppose so.

  30. jerry 2015-07-23

    If there were a celebration for something that happened or if there was a Frisbee tossed and made a direct hit on a glass of beer that then spilled on the kids, does that explain the taunts and racists statements made by people directed to the kids? How can taunts and racial statements be made inadvertently in the whatever clause. Wiken claims that if someone is traumatized they can call 911, I would submit that the 911 dudes should have been at the venue to prevent this kind of action in the first place. Imbibers are generally cool if they know there are those around that “serve and protect”.

  31. jerry 2015-07-23

    Good news, we get to kick it around for another 3 to 4 weeks.

  32. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-23

    Once again “Indian Expert” Doug Wiken opens his mouth and a toad falls out.

    The comments made by Wiken and Happy Camper are almost identical to the ones that Cory linked to the Rapid City Journal comment section.

    Take sometime and read the comments and you’ll see why Indians in Rapid City are pissed off.

  33. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-23

    Regardless of how this trial turns out, I’m not holding my breath for anything meaningful, Trace O’Connell will forever be know as the Beerchucker.

  34. happy camper 2015-07-23

    I saw a whole mix of comments there, but this guy shares my take: I’ve had beer spilled on me at a hockey game before. The person apologized, I took a shower, washed my clothes, and forgot about it. Of course, if I had someone telling me repeatedly what a terrible thing had been done to me and that I should be feeling abused and victimized by it, the incident would probably take on greater significance in my mind than what I had originally given it. There is a difference between beer being accidentally spilled and someone deliberately “flinging” it, although the outcome is the same (someone gets beer on them). It’s a shame that the first reaction of the adults in this instance is that it had to be racially motivated, and not simply an accident, which seems far more likely.

    Me: No major racial remarks were reported in the interview transcripts that I remember now. Go back to the rez. Should have been a nice time for everybody. What really went wrong?

  35. jerry 2015-07-23

    So let me get this straight, if someone spills a beer on you happy camper, you would giggle like a little school girl and tell that it is all good. You really are a wus then. And Wiken, you would do the same along with Craig. In my day, you probably would have gotten more tossed on you and told to buy another round for the house. If you would have said no, then you would have been shown the door for further attention.

    Of course, here we are speaking of children, kids, juveniles, that were alleged to have had racial remarks leveled at them. Is there a possibility that did not happen? If that were the case then why the trial in the first place?

  36. jerry 2015-07-23

    Beerchuckers are united in stealing the very soul of Native culture and sacred Native lands. This has not only happened here in Dakota after the Dawes Act but also this now in the land of McCain and the flake Flake also known as Apache land

    More guts than a slaughter house these sleaze balls, shakedown indeed.

  37. Daniel Buresh 2015-07-23

    Beerchucker….Cory’s way of putting his personal slant on the issue. Just goes to show why bloggers are not considered journalists in our legal system. They have no obligation to provide a truthful and unbiased report. No respectful or ethical journalist would classify a person as such without waiting for the results of a proper trial.

  38. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-23

    Daniel, that is BS and you should know it, or is that your way of supporting South Dakota racism?

    FOX “News” leads most of all its stories about President Obama with all kinds of horrific insults about him. Are they true journalist with integrity?

  39. jerry 2015-07-23

    I guess your point Daniel is why would anyone pay any attention to what you have to say either. For that matter, me as well. Most of us are just scared that the judge will rule in such a way that it will piss us off, one side or the other. So now you bring Cory in as the pinata for your fear. We all can rant and rave, but in the end, judgement day is a month away. Be grateful you have someplace where we can not be held responsible for what we say. Time to move on ole chum as this has run its course for the time being.

  40. happy camper 2015-07-23

    No, Daniel is entirely correct and just stating the facts. Why Cory is willing to appear less credible I can’t say. Don’t give that away for any reason.

  41. grudznick 2015-07-23

    Twice in one night, twice maybe in a year, I agree with Mr. Buresh, only in a limited fashion and not in the manner that would conflict with my agreements with my friend Roger.

    Mr. H does not adhere to SPJ standards because he is a political blogger. This will enrage him, of that I have no doubt. It is a rare political blogger who can actually qualify as a Journalist.

  42. jerry 2015-07-23

    Yeah, sure he is. There are no facts here, only conjecture until the judge says what he says. Next month, until the the tail, all is bull.

  43. Curt 2015-07-23

    “Journalism” is now the issue? WTF? What did I miss? Sheesh.

  44. jerry 2015-07-23

    You have missed fear Curt. That is what you have missed. You can smell it. So the blogger gets hung out to dry because there was not a judgement rendered and the word “shakedown” is in the works. Surprised we have not heard the defense of the multi-millionaire beer boss calling for tort reform through his solicitor.

  45. happy camper 2015-07-24

    “Is there a possibility that did not happen? If that were the case then why the trial in the first place?” So everyone who goes to trial is guilty then?

    As a gay guy I can tell you white guys can be jerks, but which ones is the big question. I talk to biker guys. I’m not eager to get beat up, but most people don’t give a who anymore. About race or gender. It was a ball game and they were on the same side of the aisle. It’s entirely possible there was a group of fun-loving white guys with some age on them that are respectful of racial differences or could care less. They wanted their wild time to get crazy enjoy the game with those present. I know a lot of white guys who are just decent people that really enjoy their sports. They asked the kids to yell along with them. Isn’t that a good thing? It was a hockey game. This is Consuelo Means interview, saying she didn’t want the kids to talk to the group in the box. She doesn’t come across as credible when you read the interview. That’s my opinion. She mostly just seemed very personally insulted and defensive. Why did she feel that way? The kids wouldn’t listen to her and the white guys said let them join in. That is the crux of it I believe. She got mad. We’re leaving! They had to explain their leaving to the parents so did they lie their ass off???

  46. jerry 2015-07-24

    happy camper, you sound pretty judgmental regarding how a person comes across as credible or not. Maybe she was personally insulted and defensive and for what reason you may ask. That is why there is a court to answer the questions. You do not have to get showered by drinks when you go to a sporting event as if that is the norm. These were chaperoned children, invited by the team for good grade honors that warranted a trip that the adults had the responsibility for. As a parent, you would hope that the chaperons kept the children’s best interests close at heart. Why on earth would you engage with a bunch of clearly intoxicated men when you have young girls in your charge? We send children on school activities all the time to far away places knowing we have supervised chaperons to help guide these youngsters in all events.

  47. mike from iowa 2015-07-24

    I went to a race war and a hockey game broke out. No,that’s not right. Why sell beer at family venues?

  48. happy camper 2015-07-24

    Since she’s accusing a racial crime her credibility will have to be a large part of the trial. It seems wrong but we can’t just take her word for it. Her story has to be questioned to see if there are holes in it. Her reaction was way overboard. They could have contacted security to ask fellow patrons to tone it down or moved to a quieter place. Why she reacted and saw this as racist is a fair question. There really were no racial remarks in the transcript of her interview. We need to understand why she reacted the way she did and would a reasonable person feel similarly in the same situation? Or was her poor reaction and management of the children more of the problem itself? She couldn’t manage the kids. Probably because they were willing to have some fun with the group of people next to them. What a crime.

  49. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-24

    Jerry, There is no dram shop law in South Dakota. Is that impossible for you to understand? You can not have read it. It does not exist. That is also probably why there were no police in the arena policing alcohol sales. They have no authority and no reason since SD has no dram shop law. The lack of a dram shop law is a major problem in South Dakota because places like the arena have no legal responsibility for the behavior of their alcohol purchasers or abusers.

    Secondly, I would not walk across the street to see a free hockey game with professional players. I do not understand why any adult in charge of students claimed to be academically proficient would decide to “reward” them with a hockey game to begin with. Anybody with the brains of a small rat would know that hockey games and crowds are not models of behavior for children.

  50. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-24

    Happy Camper is doing exactly what the commenters on the Rapid City Journal website link are doing.

    Keep talking, explaining, justifying, using conjecture and all of a sudden the real issue is lost and perhaps never have occurred in the first place. What it comes down for these types is protecting O’Connell.

    If you all will recall, the first charges being talked about against O’Connell were child abuse, hate crimes, disorderly conduct and more. Law enforcement and the judicial system simply explained it all away.

  51. happy camper 2015-07-24

    I simply want to show other scenarios do exist. If Consuelo Means made up this story, or some of it, it would be better to know the truth. The other guy who reported her observations kept saying: I didn’t think it would go this far. If they cried wolf and everyone is trying to save face, that’s a big unnecessary problem for everybody. I would enjoy watching those quick to condemn to sit down to eat their assumptions. Shovel it in!

  52. jerry 2015-07-24

    Why are there so many police at the LNI where there is no alcohol served? Here is the reason, to serve and protect. How is that any different than there huge presence on during events downtown Rapid City, my answer, it is not. Why was there no police presence at the Rush game? I have no answer, but someone will have to find one in due course. In about a month, the judge will give his opinion on this matter. Then we shall see about what civil action may be done or not done, quien sabe

  53. happy camper 2015-07-25

    The judge must have a lot of information to review. I suspect O’Connell didn’t feel he would get a fair shake from a jury because of all the slanted reporting on social media. I’m not certain the comment sections are a good thing sometimes. Too much misinformation can spread. So would you want to trust the judgement of just one person who is gonna feel pressure too, to reconcile. Defuse. When I was in Denver recently we all watched the verdicts handed down to the Aurora theatre shooter. My friend’s mixed-race kids had been there watching a different movie at the time of the shooting, so they really wanted to see strong verdicts or she said Aurora would erupt. They got the strong verdicts that they wanted, but that guy seemed like he was mentally ill, actually a known fact. He was under the treatment of a psychiatrist, so at what point do we release people from being responsible. It is a hard question. Getting down to the real dynamics is not always easy. We need to know more about the heart and mind of Trace O’Connell and Consuelo Means. Don’t take kids to a hockey game if you expect everyone there to behave like they’re in church. It’s a violent game, but people are there to be a part of it. A same-sex couple recently announced their wedding at a hockey game. Lesbians, but they were not booed off the floor or attacked as they hugged one another out on the floor. Not all white guys are rednecks even if in our state everyone looks like one. So what goes on at a hockey game anyway? Technically these are Canadians:;_ylt=A2KLqIFYg7NVSW8AvdosnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByYXI3cnIwBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDNA–?p=hockey+game+crowd&vid=0b62ff80a3e5820afff3b7b3483d721f&

  54. jerry 2015-07-25

    The kids were invited because they got good grades. There are no hockey rinks on the reservation so this was really kind of special for them. I am thinking that the last thing these children or their chaperons had in mind was to have beer put upon them. As far as a jury trial goes, this incident did not really meet the muster for that sort of trial, that is what a civil trial (if there is one) will bring. Glad that the LGBT is finally getting to the point of acceptance, Natives still await that. There are still huge land grabs like the one going on now in Arizona, that defy all things honorable. It should not be to difficult for you to put yourself into the situation of these children at the game and see yourself in the same boat not that long ago.

  55. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-25

    The American Horse 57 have been blamed for their presence at the hockey game or many have hinted at it. Somehow it is the fault of the school for letting them attend what we all know can be a violent sports activity.
    Other high school sporting events are just as violent including football, basketball and wrestling and kids attend these events all year long at their schools.
    Good behavior is the responsibility of the adult when children are present, kids shouldn’t have to be told to be quiet and shut their eyes when adults decide to misbehave.
    If adults have too much too drink when they are around children, they need to leave the event immediately. Why the city of Rapid City and the Civic Center allow anyone to become intoxicated when children are present is the real problem.
    Additionally people justifying or explaining O’Connell’s drunken behavior are just as responsible as him.

  56. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-25

    “Additionally people justifying or explaining O’Connell’s drunken behavior are just as responsible as him.”
    Total BS as usual from Roger and the grammar is wrong.

    Why shouldn’t the adults with the children be just as responsible in the presence of drunks as other people? Why shouldn’t children be told to be quiet when their noise is inappropriate? For that matter why don’t parents control their children in stores, hospitals, and elsewhere. A few weeks ago, we were in a store where WHITE children were running around and screaming like jungle animals. The clerks were shaking their heads and mumbling about the irresponsible parents.

    More and more, I am getting the impression that all the racism charges are being tossed around to obscure the adult stupidity of taking children to a hockey game as a reward for academic performance aimed at preventing parents of involved children from attacking the chaperones for putting their children in an unfortuante place. Taking any children, white or otherwise to a game or event where violence is an expected behavior is not a good example. There is enough violence from younger children and adults as it is

  57. jerry 2015-07-25

    I do think that one of the main issues here is that it was children that were involved. There has been chatter about the adults trying to blame for their actions on the children when it looks like all the chaperons did was to try to seek safety for the children by evacuating them from disorderly adults or adult. For many of these children, alcohol is a far to real thing for them. It does not surprise me that some may have tried to ignore that fact as that is a way of survival in too many households where they live. This opportunity to be invited to Rapid City for some entertainment that is not available there, should have been a highlight for the work they accomplished. Instead, we have comments that question their own behavior. Blame the victims is what I see here from many.

  58. jerry 2015-07-25

    Every sport has violence so what are you saying Mr. Wiken? You are like a pretzel now with this logic or lack of. Blame the kids. Get off my lawn you little brats! You are showing your age. Next, you will condemn all kids for being younger than you. Gawd, I’ll bet the grand-kids really like to come over so you can chew their behinds for something.

  59. jerry 2015-07-25

    The damn Dram thingy did not work out for you, so now, it is the kids.

  60. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-25

    When white privileged Wiken opens his mouth a toad is likely to fall out, he did it again.

    The children at the hockey game were reportedly well behaved and were excited at being there even when the Rapid City Journal falsely accused them of not standing for the national anthem. Why should children be told to be quiet at a hockey game when fans are shouting and screaming in support of their teams.
    Having lived in Rapid City for sometime now, I have found MOST children here to be well behaved with or without a parent present. There are occasional situations, but kids being kids it is excusable.
    It is absolutely stupid and in excusable to blame adults for taking children to a hockey game and I’ll bet anything that there were white children there as well.
    The chaperones of the American Horse 57 acted like adults when they removed the children from a potentially dangerous situation.
    What part of this event does Wiken not understand? He self-righteously defends the reckless behavior of a drunk rather than have any concerns for the Indian children.
    Obviously Wiken doesn’t like kids especially Indian kids and they probably aren’t to fond of him either.

  61. happy camper 2015-07-25

    All you have to do is fight for what is right. No labels.

  62. leslie 2015-07-25

    hc-“don’t take kids to a hockey game….ect”. what’s yer deal?

    the hockey squad assn dealieo INVITED the kids. they were trying to spread the audience for their business, build PR, maybe even trying to do something good for the community, give something back.

    a big part of the business model, too is selling booze. and, we have a youth hockey rink or two in rapid city. not really simpatico in terms of the dividing line between impressionable children, dangerous intoxicants, and society’s differing views of “good” behavior.

    Ms. Means has been heavily criticized by commenters for her reaction to the situation she perceived as developing with 15 drinking, probably all drunk white guys above her trying to have communication with her charges as a chaperone charged with responsibility of safety of the kids, DUE TO HER LAST NAME because of Russell Means. a lot of people would call that kind of association racism.

    things can get out of hand in such a public event, as we all know, so her error if any, conservative as it may have been, is better an over-reaction than an under-reaction. just to be safe. she was crying when the other chaperone was told of her concern. did he over-react too? did he come to her defense and the defense of the kids? Just like the silly sarah “lipstick” palin bragging about being like a pitbull or a grizzly bear when it becomes to protection of kids. did he post face book his perceptions that went viral. yes.

    who are we, who are you, to criticize a group of sixty plus people, packing up and leaving early from a civic center activity because of fear of some sort of potential escalation with 15 perceived drunk males?

    You think some one hundred twenty parents were happy with the results? did they over-react? did the civic center, law enforcement, rapid city journal, defendent(s), defense lawyers, the mayor, the county (yes, the same county that campaigned AGAINST the Harney Peak name-change), all of them attempting to try these matters in the press, get blamed? yes. did they try to blame the kids, chaperones, and parents? yes.

    i assume law enforcement investigated in good faith and the breadth of investigating hundreds of potential witnesses dragged out the wait, a month or so, before charges… the lowest class 2 misdemeanor criminal charge (ONE count) possible, were leveled against ONE of the 15. can you blame the victims for wondering about the process? trust the process? Do Indian lives matter? Yes, of course.

    why are you such a happy camper anyway, are you daft? are you racist? otherwise, let it be. you are not helping.

    oh, and wiken, you are now the grammar police? give your Indian farm land back as a token of apology, and your waste of our time. roger has you ethically every time. and i was going to compliment your nice sunset, but no! geeze.

  63. bearcreekbat 2015-07-25

    leslie, your posts are often difficult to read or understand due to your obsession with writing like James Joyce, yet this is one of your best posts ever! I really think you nailed it – thanks!

  64. leslie 2015-07-25

    neither good grammer nor a good secretary nor thousands of dollars of internet connectivity is/are necessary to post a blog post in the usa.

    we should get together over alder.

  65. Roger Elgersma 2015-07-25

    Someone gets offensive when drinking beer and then when sober decides to not be responsible for his own mistakes. The world will not get responsible if we have this type of people selling beer. Then Trace’s friend gets on TV and says that Trace is a very nice person. Well it does not surprise me that an irresponsible person would have an irresponsible friend.
    If the courts can not start setting a new direction for such irresponsible people, then there is no purpose in having courts. Some tell me that we should stay out of this because the Natives like to take matters into their own hands. It has been proven over a century that there is no justice if they do not take matters into their own hands. If the law did their job no one would have to take matters into their own hands and all would be safer and distrust, prejudice, revenge, and kids growing up with no hope could all improve a lot.
    The mayor who just got voted out wanted for the law to do justice, and the mayor who replaced him has a history of prejudice. So the people of Rapid City do not want their race problems to improve, which means they deserve the problems they have. But the Indian kids absolutely do not deserve the lack of hope they now have. I know Trump does not have the solution for making America great again because he ridicules McCain for trying and not always succeeding but Rapid City seems to not want to even try to do justice. America is not great in some of these areas.

  66. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-25

    I did not blame the kids for anything. Playing the race card in ever situation whether or not anybody is sure actual racism existed or was even a factor diminishes the value of charges when actual racism certainly does exist. Using it as an excuse to justify adults’ stupid behavior also makes it possible for actual racism and actual damages to be ignored. If Native American children have a lack of hope, it is the fault of their own parents or fractured families. Generalizing that lack of hope of all Native American children as the fault of whites as did Roger is as fallacious as generalizing all rotten Native behavior to all Native Americans. Both kinds of generalizations make it difficult for Native Americans actually working hard to make their own lives and that of their children better.

    I would have preferred Sam Kooiker as mayor for another term, but it is too soon to start making assumptions about Allender and what he will or won’t do. Also, he has appointed a Native American to a position in his administration for race relations. Perhaps they will decide that spending $180 million on arena expansion will not do the economy or race relations any good.

    Incidentally, “It is absolutely stupid and in excusable (sic) to blame adults for taking children to a hockey game and I’ll bet anything that there were white children there as well.” If there were White children there, did any of them get sprayed with beer?

  67. happy camper 2015-07-26
  68. barry freed 2015-07-26

    Mr Cornelius has brought us almost full circle: Mr. Poor Bear was “acting like an adult” when he used loud, foul language in front of those children and all of the other children in the arena. Only one of the two combatants apologized for his behaviour, that is what an “adult” does. Calling Poor Bear a Hero will complete the circle.

  69. Craig 2015-07-27

    Let’s just all agree the children had zero responsibility for this mess – they are not part of the problem and their presence shouldn’t be questioned. A hockey game is a form of entertainment, and the kids were there to enjoy the experience.

    The issue is what happened next. As I said before none of us – not a single person who has posted here thus far – actually knows what happened. There are conflicting stories. There are statements after the event that don’t mirror what is being said today. There are third parties who are making claims about what transpired which have no direct knowledge. Witnesses seem to have suddenly recalled details they couldn’t speak to shortly after the event, while others now seem to have their stories in alignment with one another almost to the point they are reading from a script, and this has occurred on both ‘sides’, so nobody here can make a claim that they know with certainty what transpired.

    Yet we clearly see people who have their minds made up. They are sure they know what happened. They have handed down a judgment and sentence in their minds and the actual outcome doesn’t matter. They don’t believe in innocent until proven guilty because they are have already determined the verdict is either innocent or guilty and no amount of facts, logic, or evidence will change that.

    The real problem here is how so many are blurring the issue of racism (or even Rapid City racism) with this case. Unfortunately racism exists – and for whatever reason there appears to be a massive hot spot of racism in the Black Hills area. That is a problem, but we also need to acknowledge that criminal cases need to be judged upon the facts of the specific case – not about opinion and not based upon the feelings of the community.

    I wish we had some video so we could put this case to rest and know for certain what happened, but we do not. Thus regardless of the verdict the opinions held by most won’t change. Many will feel the end result is a miscarriage of justice and they will remain as upset a month from now or a year from now as they are today. We will hear excuses as to why the verdict was one way or another and many will refuse to accept it – so I suspect it won’t make a difference in anyone’s life.

    Earned or not, Mr. O’Connell now has the reputation of being a racist and perhaps a child abuser, and that isn’t about to go away even if the verdict is not-guilty. I can’t say as I can feel sorry for him, because I have zero idea of the man is guilty or not. I don’t know him, I don’t know what really happened, and thus I cannot know if he is deserving of his new found fame or not.

    People claim they want justice, but what they really want is vindication. It is abundantly evident that a verdict means nothing at this point.

  70. bearcreekbat 2015-07-27

    Craig, it gets even worse when we recognize that “According to experts, eyewitness testimony is the worst evidence one could possibly have. . . .”

    Giving unquestioned credence to only “eyewitness testimony” would seem to be a huge mistake.

  71. Jenny 2015-07-27

    I’m surprised there weren’t any security cameras at the RC hockey arena. That right there would answer most questions.
    At most public places, they’re everywhere. ( Ol’ J Edgar Hoover would have just loved the highly advanced security surveillance there is out there now.)

    if I lived in RC I would be tempted to go see what there is for security cameras at the hockey arena. People remember you’re in SD, a very corrupt state that wants to hide its racism.

  72. Craig 2015-07-27

    bcb – You’re exactly right and I’m very aware at how useful eyewitness testimony is which is why I have already predicted there is sufficient doubt on this case (read: not guilty). Even when people are trying to be 100% honest their testimony on what they actually saw can differ from what video evidence shows us and we wonder how that can be, but our mind can play tricks on us.

    Now just think how trustworthy that eyewitness testimony is when people have a vested interest in the outcome of a case. Then add in the fact that they are being asked to recall events from months prior after having been exposed to various media reports and after speaking with others who may have been involved. Now add in the fact that most people can’t recall what they had for dinner more than two days ago and you start to realize that first hand accounts of events are about as reliable as a member of Congress.

    Jenny – I’m assuming there will be security cameras at the entrances but they won’t cover every seating area. I’m not surprised there aren’t cameras because that would require a lot of cameras and recording equipment and would be very expensive. What I’m more surprised about is that there wasn’t anyone involved that busted out a cellphone to record the incident. Perhaps it all happened so fast it wasn’t feasible, but sooner or later incidents like this one will bring CCTV to almost all public areas. It is inevitable.

Comments are closed.