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Judge: No jury trial for family claiming FBI discrimination

August 9, 2019

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a family’s request for a jury trial involving a lawsuit alleging racial bias in the FBI investigation into a relative’s shooting death.

The Billings Gazette reports U.S. District Court Judge Sam Haddon ruled Thursday that any trial in the case will be held in front of the court alone.

No criminal charges were filed in the 2005 death of 23-year-old Steven Bearcrane, a tribal member who was shot on the Crow Reservation. The FBI concluded that Bobby Jean Holcomb, who is white, shot him in self-defense.

Bearcrane’s family says the FBI agent leading the investigation made racist remarks against Native Americans and ignored testimony and evidence that went against the self-defense theory.

Bearcrane was shot after arguing with Holcomb about the treatment of a horse.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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