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One of three young men charged with making paintball attacks on Alaska Natives has reached a plea agreement in which he will admit videotaping the incidents, prosecutors said last Thursday. Charles Deane Wiseman, 20, will plead guilty or no contest to three counts of misdemeanor assault in connection with the paintball attacks in Anchorage. Wiseman had pleaded not guilty in May to seven counts of misdemeanor assault. The plea agreement incorporates the complaints lodged in the other four counts, prosecutors said. Wiseman will have to admit to his part in the attacks on seven people Jan. 17, prosecutors said. He will be allowed at sentencing to dispute making racist statements recorded during the attack. He is expected to be sentenced Aug. 31. The Alaska Federation of Natives said it planned to protest the plea agreement at Wiseman’s sentencing. “An attack on Alaska Natives because of our race is a hate crime. A hate crime of any kind that involves violence certainly falls in line to be classified as a felony,” said AFN spokesman John Tetpon. “We are disappointed that plea agreements are coming down in an event that is one step short of using real bullets.” Wiseman and two other teens, both 17, drove to downtown Anchorage to, in their words, go “hunting” for “muktuks” or “drunk Eskimos,” prosecutors said. The juvenile in the front passenger seat was the principal shooter, prosecutors said. The driver fired at one victim. John J. Novak, chief assistant district attorney for Alaska, said Wiseman sat in the back seat and videotaped the attacks. He said Wiseman also helped lure victims closer to the car. The cases of the two boys are being handled in juvenile court. The videotape shows the victims flinching as they’re hit and some trying to shield their faces after being struck at close range. The youths can be heard laughing. The paintball attack outraged Alaska Natives and prompted the Legislature in January to condemn the incident and all hate crimes, racism and discrimination. Gov. Tony Knowles convened a panel to hold statewide public hearings on Alaska’s racial climate, and his Commission on Tolerance met for the first time last Wednesday. Panelists heard testimony about homeless Alaska Natives beaten on the streets, children with American Indian blood called “half-breeds” and gay men insulted by co-workers. Tom Blackbird, an outreach specialist for Homeward Bound, a program for the homeless, said a young Native man was held down a few days ago by white youths and burned with a cigar. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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