Peaceful protests continue in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The demonstrations in Rapid City have been peaceful, but last night’s had a few incidents and a handful of arrests.
Local demonstrators laid on the ground with their hands behind their backs to symbolize George Floyd’s death, and took to the courthouse.
The atmosphere was calm, until counter protesters engaged and began yelling at the demonstrators, but officers swiftly intervened.
According to Rapid City officials, five individuals were taken into custody for disorderly conduct and disorderly assembly. Those individuals were seen either laying in the roadway or blocking traffic, which police say, is illegal.
“If you’re yelling and chanting, that’s totally fine, but when it crosses the line of jumping into traffic, there’s a problem there,” said RCPD Assistant Chief Don Hedrick. “I’d encourage people to protest in a very safe manner, and do it in a way that doesn’t put yourself or others at risk.”
While protest, demonstration, and free speech are citizens rights, officials want demonstrators and protesters to do it safely and to respect everyone.
“We allow all the rights, whether we agree with them or not, and we encourage every citizen of our city and our county to other peoples rights, whether they agree with them or not, to happen. And obviously that’s why we ask you to respect each others rights,” said PCSO Captain Tony Harrison.
The skirmish between groups, was squashed by law enforcement, but Gov. Kristi Noem expressed her thoughts on methods of counter protest and on those flying the confederate flags at the peaceful gathering.
“I saw videos of those flags and was very disappointed to see them,” said Gov. Kristi Noem. “I do know that freedom of speech is a fundamental right of being an American, and that should be protected, but it was disappointing for me to see those.”
Demonstrators continue to peacefully march in main street square, and it is unsure how long they will continue.