Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender issued a statement tonight as Gov. Kristi Noem called out the National Guard to address looting in Sioux Falls after a day of peaceful protests.
Mayor Allender said he has seen Rapid City at its best and at its worst. He said he understands that emotions are high right now but rioting and looting can't be tolerated.
"Public disorder including rioting, looting and destruction of property must not be justified by emotions or injustices and cannot be allowed to stand in a nation of laws," Allender said. "The City of Rapid City will not stand idly by when lives or property are in danger. We will accommodate, even assist in demonstrations, but we will not condone behavior that threatens the public safety."
The Mayor's complete statement is included below:
The death of George Floyd was an unnecessary tragedy.
Mr. Floyd’s family and friends grieve for a specific person while untold others grieve for a system of unfairness or injustice. I understand grief and the grieving.
I support peaceful demonstrations and in my experience, Rapid City has gone to great lengths to accommodate, even assist groups wishing to march. The First Amendment is a sacred amendment to our Constitution and is something that helps define a free nation.
I’ve gotten to know this community over the last 35 years and I have seen us at our worst and at our best. We are all human and all capable of great or terrible things. These are the times when our community begs for unity, begs for calm and begs for peace.
I am asking all of you, from all walks of life, from all races and from all socioeconomic backgrounds to be patient, calm and considerate as we continue our journey through a global pandemic, and as we are challenged with the recent protests and the looming threat of civil disorder and violence.
Emotions are understandably high during this time, but while exercising one’s constitutional right to assemble, it is imperative we observe others’ right to protection under the law. Public safety is government’s highest calling and every measure must be taken to use the authority given to us by the people, to protect the people.
Public disorder including rioting, looting and destruction of property must not be justified by emotions or injustices and cannot be allowed to stand in a nation of laws. The City of Rapid City will not stand idly by when lives or property are in danger. We will accommodate, even assist in demonstrations, but we will not condone behavior that threatens the public safety.
Please join me in a time of peace and reflection as we make our way to summer and fall. We are truly in this together, as one community.
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