Snowden pleads not guilty to charge stemming from confrontation with protesters

by Heidi Desch
Whitefish Pilot | June 17, 2020 2:10 PM

A Whitefish man who allegedly yelled at protesters during an incident earlier this month pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Whitefish Municipal Court.

Jay Snowden, 51, is charged with one count of disorderly conduct after he allegedly confronted protesters downtown.

Demonstrators gathered for several evenings mainly in front of City Hall to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Video of the alleged incident on June 3 has since gone viral and shows what appears to be Snowden yelling profanities in the middle of a group of protesters, including singling out one woman.

About 15 people, many of whom attended the protests, were present in the courtroom on Wednesday.

Municipal Judge William Hileman said there are various ways an individual can commit disorderly conduct including having a loud argument.

In Snowden’s case, if convicted, Hileman said, he is facing a $100 fine, a $85 surcharge and 10 days in the county jail.

Whitefish Police say the group has been “peacefully protesting,” but an officer intervened on June 3 during an incident when Snowden allegedly became confrontational with those who had gathered. Police consulted with the city prosecutor the next day and Snowden was subsequently charged.

Snowden is set to appear in court again for an omnibus hearing on Aug. 18.