Gallatin County Courthouse File

The Gallatin County Courthouse is shown in this August 14, 2018, file photo.

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A woman was arrested Tuesday after a man said she yelled racist remarks at him while waiting in line to vote at the Gallatin County Courthouse.

Brian Mango, 22, was waiting to vote when he said a woman started weaving in and out of line, appearing drunk and acting “unruly.” Wendy Bies, 53, kept touching him and told him he had a “cute butt,” Mango told the Chronicle.

“Go back where you came from,” Mango said Bies, who is white, told him, saying his “people” came to the U.S. “on purpose.” Mango, who is black, said he didn’t know what she meant by that.

Mango responded by saying that his family came to the U.S. as slaves and had no choice in the matter. He also told her his mother, from Laos, was a refugee.

She said that all “his people” wanted was free stuff, Mango said. He also said she hit him with her scarf at one point.

Having lived in Bozeman since he was in fifth grade, Mango said he regularly hears similar racist remarks around town. And this time, he felt compelled to say something.

“This is a really charged and intense moment in history, and I can’t let her say these things,” Mango said.

Mango said the whole incident made he and others in line uncomfortable, and it could definitely prevent someone from voting if it happened to another minority.

Tennison Big Day was about five to 10 people behind Mango and told the Chronicle he saw most of the incident. Big Day said he heard Bies say President Donald Trump was the one that gave Mango voting rights, in addition to the racist remarks.

He took a video of the incident with his phone in the hopes that it would help racial minorities by showing how often they experience racism, he said. Big Day is Native American.

“Always use your knowledge,” he said.

Bies was booked into jail at 2:37 p.m. on the misdemeanor charge of obstructing a police officer, and was being held on $335 bond, according to Gallatin County’s jail roster. The sheriff’s office will release details Wednesday morning, Capt. Jake Wagner said.

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Abby Lynes can be reached at or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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