Cops: Man Beaten, Dragged in S.D.
MARTIN, S.D. (AP) _ A white man beaten and left for dead with a rope around his neck was found near an Indian reservation in what authorities described as a hate crime.
Brad Young, 21, of Martin was in critical condition early today at Rapid City Regional Hospital. He was found early Saturday, about seven hours after the alleged beating, amid tall weeds near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Three suspects were in custody.
Bennett County Sheriff Russel Waterbury said Young was kicked in the face by people wearing steel-toe boots. He said it was nearly impossible to identify Young, who also had severe cuts and rope burns on his neck.
Young’s mother, Carol Bucholz of Lexington, Neb., said her son’s left ear was almost torn off and his right ear was badly damaged, but a plastic surgeon said both can be repaired.
The sheriff said the suspects _ Louis Means and Byron Bissonette, both 18, and a juvenile _ had been partying with Young the night of the alleged beating and Young had bought them alcohol.
Waterbury called the incident a hate crime _ Young is white, the suspects are American Indians.
He said Young was pulled around by the rope tied around his neck.
``They dragged him all over that field and left him to die,″ said Lila York, Young’s cousin. ``It’s out of hateness. Why else would anybody do that?″
Bucholz said she didn’t believe her son knew the suspects, ``so why he was with them we’re not sure at this time.″
County Commissioner James Slattery disagreed with the hate crime theory.
``I didn’t hear it was racial,″ he said. ``I heard it was alcohol and dope.″
The FBI is investigating because the incident happened on an Indian reservation.
In June 1998, a black man was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to death along a road in Jasper, Texas. Three white men were charged with killing James Byrd Jr.