Blackfeet Nation seeks hate crime charges
The Blackfeet Nation of Montana says three men who attacked a tribal member should face hate crime charges.

The tribe asked Glacier County Attorney Larry Epstein to reconsider the case against brothers Todd, Brian and Aaron Molenda. They are accused of yelling racial slurs at county commissioner Ron Rides at the Door while they were beating him.

Epstein said the crime wasn't racially motivated so he only charged the Molendas with misdemeanor assault. Under the state's hate crimes statute, they could be charged with felonies.

Epstein appears to have doubts about his decision, however, and has asked the state Department of Justice to review the case. "I've made these decisions for 33 years, and I thought I acted appropriately, but I made one mistake in believing I could have appropriately handled a matter involving our county commissioner and my friend Ron Rides at the Door," Epstein told The Great Falls Tribune. "In retrospect, I've concluded that I could not."

Rides at the Door was trying to stop the Molendas from beating up another man when he was attacked. His wife was also called names.

Get the Story:
Blackfeet want Cut Bank assault charged as felony (The Great Falls Tribune 10/23)

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