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United States Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota

02/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/12/2018 19:12

Jury Finds Eagle Butte Man Guilty of Assaulting a Federal Officer

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Pete Knight, age 54, of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, was found guilty of Assaulting a Federal Officer as a result of a federal jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on February 7, 2018.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 8 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 2 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Knight was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 14, 2017. The charge stemmed from an incident that occurred on May 8, 2017, in Ziebach County, when Sheriff Gary Cudmore responded to a call of a reckless driver. Sheriff Cudmore clocked the vehicle driving 95 mph and performed a traffic stop on the vehicle. Upon making contact with the driver, who is a tribal member, it was apparent that the person had been drinking and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Police Department was contacted. The individual was placed in the back of Sheriff Cudmore's patrol car until tribal officers arrived.

Prior to the tribal officers arriving, Knight and another individual stopped at the location of the traffic stop, as the vehicle stopped by Sheriff Cudmore belonged to Knight. Knight requested to talk to the occupant of the patrol car and the sheriff allowed it. When the door to the patrol vehicle was opened, Knight began to physically assault the occupant, who was handcuffed behind his back and defenseless. Sheriff Cudmore was able to pull Knight back, but Knight continued to get through the sheriff to get at the occupant. In the process, Knight shoved Sheriff Cudmore. Knight eventually left the scene.

Knight later returned riding a horse, and another altercation occurred. Knight was found not guilty regarding that incident.

U.S. Attorney Parsons stated, 'Violence against our law enforcement officers will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.'

This case was investigated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for April 30, 2018. The defendant is to self-report to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service on February 14, 2018.