By Justin Scrimshire
A video uploaded to YouTube has gained a lot of attention over the past week, raising serious questions and shining a light on the complexities that continue to linger after the McGirt ruling made by the United States Supreme Court.
The incident in question occurred on May 4, 2021, when Bobbie Sutterfield and Jennifer Dye got into an argument after Sutterfield had allegedly struck Dye’s dog with his car. A video of the entire altercation was recently uploaded onto YouTube by a family member of Jennifer Dye in an effort to raise awareness of the case.
The video is believed to be footage from Sutterfield’s own dashcam he provided to the Okemah Police Department to verify his side of the story. However, the YouTube video was edited with a narrator’s voice and text blocks appearing on the screen, giving the point of view from the narrator’s perspective. One of the edits to the video is misleading as a text block appears, accusing Sutterfield of being an “animal killer.” The narrator clarifies the dog hit by Sutterfield survived after being run over but accuses Sutterfield of being an animal killer a second time later in the video.
What is not disputed, even by Sutterfield himself, is what occurs next. After striking the dog with his car, Sutterfield surveys the damage to the front of his car and drives home. After calling the police department about the incident, Sutterfield returns to the scene to await police there.
As Sutterfield returns, Jennifer Dye is seen on the video backing out of her driveway. Dye stated she was going to look for her dog when she was notified that Sutterfield had returned to the scene, so Dye parked next to Sutterfield and confronted him about the incident. No audio can be heard in the verbal exchange between the two and the initial confrontation occurs just off-camera.
A short time later, Dye appears to be walking back to her car before turning around and confronting Sutterfield again, who is now in camera view in front of the car. During this second exchange, Sutterfield allegedly strikes Dye across the face with his hand, knocking her glasses to the ground. In response to Dye getting struck, several of Dye’s family members, including children, are seen rushing toward the scene. Sutterfield responds to this action from the family by allegedly drawing a gun and aiming it at them briefly, before holstering the gun again. Shortly thereafter, police officers arrive on scene.
In the YouTube video, the narrator states that officers release Sutterfield without even questioning Dye. However, Dye stated to the Okemah News Leader she refused to talk to the officers on scene due to the comradery she observed between the officers and Sutterfield. Dye says the officers were laughing about how Sutterfield had struck her. An affidavit filed against Sutterfield states Officer Starkey and Officer Ashley tried to get the family to write statements, but Dye stated, “she was not writing anything until the Chief of Police Edward Smith Jr. was present.”
The Okemah News Leader reached out to Chief Smith about this case, and he confirmed the Okemah Police Department wrapped up their investigation but due to Dye being a Tribal citizen and the recent McGirt ruling by the United States Supreme Court, the case was referred to the Muscogee Nation Lighthorse Police. The News Leader reached out to Lighthorse for follow-up on the status of the case but was referred instead to the Attorney General. Multiple calls to the Attorney General were not returned.
KFOR News also did a segment about this story on Friday, April 1. In their report, Lighthorse claimed the FBI was not going to pursue the case. KFOR stated they had reached out to the FBI multiple times to confirm that claim, but the FBI never responded.
In her interview with the News Leader, Dye stated she didn’t believe justice was being served. “I try to teach my kids to do the right thing,” said Dye before adding that she believed in doing what was right to the point that she even turned in her own son when he had broken the law, resulting in him being sent to prison. “He hated me for it, but I just believe you have to do what is right,” said Dye.
Records obtained through the Oklahoma State Courts Network show that Bobbie Sutterfield was arrested in Cleveland County in 2005 and charged with felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Sutterfield pleaded no contest to the charge and received a two-year deferred sentence.
An article from The Oklahoman dated May 18, 2004, described the incident, stating that Sutterfield had gotten into an argument with the wife of Danny McIntyre. When McIntyre confronted Sutterfield about the argument, Sutterfield is reported to have struck McIntyre in the left knee with a lead pipe. Sutterfield successfully completed the terms of his probation and has no felony on his record.