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A man pleaded not guilty Monday morning to brandishing a knife and threatening to stab patrons and an employee at a downtown Bozeman bar in August.

Joshua Rodney Meech, formerly of Manhattan, is charged with felony assault with weapon, felony criminal endangerment and felony intimidation. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges in Gallatin County District Court before Judge Rienne McElyea.

McElyea continued the $750,000 bail set in Justice Court and continued conditions of release, which includes a no-contact order between Meech and the bar and Meech and the alleged victims.

Roughly two weeks before being arrested in connection to the knife incident, Meech, 30, was released from a federal prison in California. He is on federal probation for making false statements while trying to purchase a gun while ordered by a court not to be in possession of a firearm and is in the detention center on a federal hold.

According to court documents, law enforcement responded to a report of a disturbance with a weapon at a Main Street bar shortly before 11 p.m. on Aug. 17. Officers arrived and found Meech waving a knife around the bar and the 35 to 40 customers staying close to the walls to stay away from him.

An officer ordered Meech to put the knife down. He initially refused, then set down the knife and an officer was able to secure it. Additional officers then attempted to and eventually successfully placed Meech in handcuffs after a struggle. He continued to kick at officers while handcuffed, documents say, so law enforcement also placed Meech in a WRAP restraint device.

While being transported to the detention center, documents say Meech told law enforcement that he was affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood and attempted to bribe the sergeant driving him to jail to “get on our (expletive) payroll or die.”

A handful of people at the bar agreed to give statements to law enforcement about the incident. One of the witnesses said Meech had “become a problem” earlier in the evening and that the bartender was refusing to serve him alcohol because of his behavior. Meech allegedly became aggressive after being cut off and was asked to leave the bar.

Meech replied that he would stab or kill the employee after being asked to leave the bar, documents say. He pulled the knife shortly before the first officer arrived.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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