Protests against police brutality in the wake of the death of a black man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police have reached South Dakota.
As protesters clashed with police in major cities across the country, on Sunday thousands of South Dakota citizens peacefully demonstrated in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. In Rapid City a cousin of George Floyd helped lead a walk through memorial park in memory of his fallen cousin while in Sioux Falls over 1,000 people gathered on the corner of 41st street and Minnesota.
Here in Aberdeen a smaller protest took place on the corner of 6th avenue and Main Street. Demonstrators held up signs including Floyd's name and Black Lives Matter.
The Sioux Falls protest did turn to violence Sunday night at about 9:30 p.m. when scanner reports protestors began to clash with police. Some area businesses were damage and Mayor Paul TenHaken confirmed some looting in the area. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and disperse the crowed and mayor TenHaken issued a state of emergency and 10 p.m. curfew.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem activated the National Guard to assist with the situation in Sioux Falls and released a statement on the matter: “We take the protection of people’s rights very seriously, as we’ve demonstrated over the last several months, including the right to peacefully protest,” said Governor Noem. “Make no mistake, mob rule and violence do nothing to honor the memory of victims. If asked, the state stands ready to assist local authorities to ensure everyone’s rights are protected. Rioting and looting, like we’ve seen in other cities and states, will not be tolerated in South Dakota.”