RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man accused of abusing American Indian children with racial slurs and spraying them with beer at a minor league hockey game in Rapid City is set to go to trial.

The bench trial of 41-year-old Trace O’Connell for a disorderly conduct charge is starting Wednesday in Rapid City.

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The incident has spurred protests and heightened racial tensions in South Dakota’s second-largest city. Critics say the charge O’Connell faces is too lenient.

O’Connell has pleaded not guilty to accusations that he harassed students from the American Horse School at the hockey game in January.

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The judge has removed the possibility of jail time for the municipal charge.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe president has asked for a federal investigation into the reported harassment.

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