Gov. Noem and Mayor Allender address protests in South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. — As protests continue here and across the county over the death of George Floyd, leaders at all levels continue to call for peaceful gatherings.
While some gatherings have turned violent, including in Sioux Falls, Gov. Kristi Noem says that peaceful assembly is still the most effective method to get their message out. She also assures South Dakotans that their voice is being heard.
“People protest when they feel like they’re not being heard,” said Gov. Kristi Noem. “As it relates to South Dakota, the protests have had their purpose. There is no one who thinks that what happened to George Floyd was okay.”
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender has let the public know that their first amendment rights will be protected, up until the time things become unsafe.
“If the whole point is to defy authorities then we can’t work with that group and that ultimately at the end of that continuum is an ugly confrontation with government. No one wants that because no one wins,” said Allender.
The Mayor emphasizes that protests which disrupt traffic or damage property are not protected under the first amendment, and appropriate action will be taken if situations get out of control.
The city had to disperse a gathering earlier this week for that reason.