Jim Daniels

Jim Daniels appears via video in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday for charges that accuse him of making racist and threatening comments toward a co-worker.

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A Belgrade man was arrested Tuesday on charges that accuse him of making racist and threatening comments toward a co-worker, telling him “we kill people like you.”

Jim Daniels, 60, is charged with felony malicious intimidation. He appeared via video in Gallatin County Justice Court before Judge Rick West, who set his bail at $100,000.

The victim, who is Brazilian, has worked at Rent For Less in Bozeman for two years and said the racial threats by Daniels started as comments about the color of his skin. Those comments eventually escalated, and Daniels on several occasions brandished a shotgun and tried to provoke the victim into a fight, authorities said.

On Monday, the victim told law enforcement that Daniels threatened and harassed him and his family at a local trailhead, according to charging documents.

During an interview with authorities Tuesday, the victim told a Gallatin County deputy that Daniels was a passenger in a passing car and said through the window, “In Montana, we kill people like you.”

A witness in the car with Daniels later told police he heard Daniels say something like “kill him” as they drove past the man, court documents say. The witness, who also works at Rent For Less, told police he’s heard Daniels make “racial type comments” toward the man before.

The victim told police that Daniels had showed him a shotgun on several instances. Daniels said the shotgun, which he kept in his work van, is named Betsy. The man said Daniels recently told him “someday you’re going to meet Betsy.”

Their employer told a deputy he was aware of the harassment and had separated the men as a result. The employer said Daniels has made several false accusations against the man to try to get him fired, court documents say.

The employer said he encouraged the man to report the incident at the trailhead and that Daniels was “a racist (expletive) who needs to be arrested.”

Daniels admitted making racist comments toward the man and that he keeps a shotgun in his work van but couldn’t give a reason why he stored the weapon there, court documents say.

Police said they confiscated the man’s shotgun.

In court on Wednesday, Gallatin County prosecutor Bjorn Boyer said Daniels knows where the man lives and works and remains a threat. He said Daniels also proved that he has the means and motive to injure or kill the man by brandishing the shotgun at him several times.

“All that makes for a pretty dangerous situation in this case for the victim,” Boyer said.

Daniels’ attorney Mary Kramer said she was unable to speak with Daniels and did not argue for a lower bail. Daniels remained in the county jail later Wednesday. His arraignment in District Court will be scheduled at a later date.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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