A Montana woman was booked into jail Tuesday after she was caught on camera berating a Black man as he waited in line to vote in the state’s battleground Senate and congressional races.
Fifty-three-year-old Wendy Bies made her first court appearance Wednesday where she pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of obstructing a police officer and disorderly conduct, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. She remains jailed on $500 bail.
Brian Mango, 22, said he was waiting to cast his ballot at the Gallatin County Courthouse when a seemingly drunken woman started weaving in and out of the line. The woman, later identified as Bies, kept touching him and remarked that he had a “cute butt,” Mango said.
It wasn’t long before Bies began shouting racist remarks at the young man, telling him to “go back where you came from.”
Bies, who’s white, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer for her Election Day antics. According to the newspaper, she was held at the Gallatin County Jail on $335 bond as of Tuesday.
In the video, Mango is heard explaining his mixed race heritage after Bies claimed all “his people” came to America on “purpose” and wanted free stuff. The young man replied by noting that his ancestors were brought to the U.S. as slaves while his mother, who’s from Laos, was a refugee.
“Do you know why [my] mom is here? Because Americans bombed her country,” he said of his mother. “Do you know why my Dad’s here? Because they brought his ancestors here in chains.”
Tennison Big Day, a Native American man, wasn’t too far behind in line and recorded the incident on his cell phone. He told the Chronicle he overheard Bies credit Donald Trump for giving Mango the right to vote, along with other racist remarks. Big Day said he took the video in hopes it would show how often racial minorities experience racism.
“Always use your knowledge,” he said.
Recalling the incident, Mango said he knew he had to stand up for himself.
“This is a really charged and intense moment in history, and I can’t let her say these things,” he said.