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Investigation into mistreatment of Indian students drags out

The incident occurred at the January 24 game, pictured here. Photo from Facebook

Authorities in South Dakota have yet to file charges in connection with the mistreatment of Indian children at a hockey game in Rapid City last month.

Some 57 children from the American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation were subjected to racial slurs at the Rapid City Rush on January 24. Some even had beer poured on them in an incident that has drawn widespread media attention.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris previously said he's considering assault, hate crime and child abuse charges against the person or persons involved. But on Monday he warned that the investigation could take "weeks" even though his department previously said a primary suspect has been identified.

"We are aware that these allegations have become a focal point of heated public concern and discussion. The circumstances surrounding this incident are unique and wide-ranging in scope. These are serious allegations that demand a thorough investigation," Jegeris said in a press release. "I ask that the public be patient with our agency as our detectives do what they do best; gather the facts of an incident. This investigation could take weeks, but building the most comprehensive picture of what happened that night, while maintaining the integrity of the ongoing investigation is the number one priority of our department."

It's not clear why the investigation might last so long. Authorities know the name of the company that rents the VIP suite where the instigators were located -- Eagle Sales, a beer distributor.

Although the company's president said he wasn't at the game in question, he acknowledged that his clients were using the suite. He also said one of his employees attended the game.

The company hosts meet and greet events with Rapid City Rush players at local bars, according to its Facebook page. The team has apologized to the students and their families for their treatment at the game.

Indian activists and their allies will be holding a Stand Strong Against Racism Rally at the next Rapid City Rush game on February 10.

Get the Story:
Hate Crime Investigation May Take Weeks Anti-Racism Rally Planned (South Dakota Public Radio 2/2)
Police ask for patience in Civic Center incident investigation (KEVN 2/2)
Rapid City police continue to look at racial incident (KOTA 2/2)
Newspaper headline angers some (KOTA 2/2)
Changes planned at Rapid City's Rushmore Plaza Civic Center after student harassment (The Aberdeen American News 2/3)

Related Stories:
Tim Giago: Incident shows racism is alive and well in Rapid City (2/2)
Danielle Miller: Media lauds violence against our Indian children (2/2)
NAJA: Paper owes apology for flawed story about Indian children (2/2)
Opinion: File charges for hateful assault against Indian children (2/2)
Company claims harassment after racial incident at hockey game (1/30)
Criminal charges possible over mistreatment of Indian students (1/29)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our kids should be able to go anywhere (1/28)
Police probe racist treatment of Oglala youth at hockey game (1/28)

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