FBI now involved in possible Sisseton hate crime case, family calling for justice

Local News

SISSETON, S.D. (KELO) – The FBI is now aiding an investigation into an alleged hate crime in Sisseton. Last month, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribal member, Morning Star Kitto, was assaulted in front of a bar in town.

Kitto says she was attacked as her and her cousin were leaving the Lake Traverse Resort bar on June 20th.

“I remember getting kicked in my knee and getting slandered racial, racial names, you know,” she said.

Kitto needed four surgeries on her knee with another one scheduled.

“They said if I didn’t make it there like within an hour I could’ve bled to death from the inside, yeah internally, and I could’ve lost my leg,” Morning Star Kitto said.

Family, friends and supporters of Kitto are looking for justice in this case.

“What we’re asking for is a fair investigation,” Shannon White, with the SWO Watchdog Coalition, said. “So, we want to know what really happened. There’s a video surveillance tape that is floating around. We’re hoping that the tape will be released to the public so that we can see what really happened and we’re hoping for people to be held responsible.”

“It took five days for them to get the video. I said, ‘how come the sheriff didn’t go down there Sunday and grab it? Why did it take five days to do?’ He said well we got the video Wednesday, five days, four days later,” Carlos Kitto, Morning Star’s dad, said. “They could’ve showed us that and they didn’t. And nobody’s in jail yet.”

The Roberts County sheriff says they have given all of their evidence in this case to the FBI.

“Federal authorities have joined the investigation into the allegations the incident was a racially motivated hate crime,” Roberts County Sheriff Tyler Appel said. “And we will continue to assist them to ensure a fair, and thorough investigation is completed. In the interest of transparency, and to create clarity, the Roberts County Sheriff’s department, with support from the FBI, have reviewed video evidence with members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribal leadership. The offer to view the incident in question was also extended to the family of Morning Star Kitto. Our office will not be making any further comments during this investigation.”

In an email, the public affairs officer for the FBI Minneapolis office tells KELOLAND News the FBI’s Sioux Falls office is aware of the situation and is working with the South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s office on the incident.

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