Grand Gateway Hotel owner arrested following altercation with picketers

UPDATE (5/27/22 @ 4:30 P.M.): Connie Uhre appears to have been booked into the Pennington County Jail for three counts of simple assault.

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RAPID CITY, S.D. — The ongoing conflict between the Grand Gateway Hotel and NDN Collective reignited Friday. A video of the incident appears to show the owner of the hotel spraying picketers with an unknown cleaning substance.

Rapid City Police Community Relations Specialist Brendyn Medina has confirmed to NewsCenter1 that Connie Uhre was arrested just before 1 p.m. Friday afternoon on three counts of simple assault. At the time of writing, there is no official confirmation that she is being held at the Pennington County Jail.

“During the investigation and review of video footage captured of the incidents, it was very clear that she was using a chemical cleaner to assault individuals that were peacefully protesting,” Medina says.

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A screenshot of the video posted by NDN Collective showing Grand Gateway Hotel owner Connie Uhre spraying a picketer with an unknown cleaning substance. The person sprayed was later identified as Sunny Red Bear, NDN Collective’s Director of Racial Equity.

NDN Collective’s Racial Equity Director, Sunny Red Bear, posted on her Facebook that she had been sprayed by Uhre.

Red Bear wrote in a statement, “This is what we mean when we say that white supremacy is violent. Now that we’ve seen that she was willing to commit a physical act of violence – in public and in broad daylight – I hope that people will begin to understand and believe us when we say how dangerous and REAL racism is.”

In March, the Grand Gateway Hotel came under fire for inflammatory statements Uhre made following a shooting that occurred in the hotel. In a Facebook post at the time, Uhre said, “We will no longer allow any Native American[s] on [the] property or in Cheers Sports Bar.” The comments were met with outrage from both the local Indigenous community and local government leaders.

Medina says the investigation is ongoing, and that RCPD is working with the City Attorney’s Office to determine whether or not NDN Collective was in the parking lot legally. He says two businesses control the parking lot and that one had given them permission to be there, while the other had not.

This is a developing story; NewsCenter1 will provide updates as they become available.

Categories: Crime, Local News