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Freedom charged



A female bartender at Lewistown's Montana Tavern made a call to local authorities shortly after midnight on Aug. 2. She reported that a man had just thrown another man through the bar's plate glass window. The victim was a 48-year-old man from Pennsylvania on his way to Sturgis, South Dakota. The alleged thrower was Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford—a tall, barrel-chested man.

According to a press release from the Lewistown Police Department, the victim suffered cuts to his face and was subsequently treated and released at the Central Montana Medical Center. Crawford, however, fled the scene, reportedly barefoot. Authorities found him at the Yogo Inn and charged him with four misdemeanor citations: assault, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer.

Lewistown Police Chief Cory Birdwell says he can't offer many details about the argument between Crawford and the victim, due to an ongoing investigation. "It started out as kind of an argument," he explains. "I can't say it necessarily escalated from there...the initial discussion between [Crawford] and the victim was said and then it was done—or the victim thought it was done. Then it escalated on Crawford's part."

Crawford was in Lewistown with several deputies on Aug. 2 to provide security during an evidentiary hearing in the ongoing Barry Beach case. Birdwell says none of Crawford's deputies were with Crawford at either of the two bars he visited that night.

Crawford declined to comment on the specifics of his altercation with the Pennsylvanian, saying he would make a public statement sometime in the next week.

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