Governor Noem says violence will not be tolerated in South Dakota

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Peaceful protests gave way to criminal acts Sunday night in Sioux Falls. Monday, Governor Kristi Noem met with city leaders, law enforcement, and victims.

Governor Kristi Noem says protests have a purpose, and that Sunday’s peaceful protests honored the memory of George Floyd, but then the agenda changed.

“Today, the conversation isn’t about the peaceful protest, it’s about the violence that happened last night, and violence will not be tolerated in South Dakota,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

Noem says mob rule does nothing to honor victims. After police officers had rocks and obscenities tossed their way, authorities say the criminal acts spilled into the private sector.

“Property was destroyed, business owners were victimized, stores were looted and vandalized,” Noem said.

The governor, alongside Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, visited with victims Monday, including a stop at Riddle’s Jewelry, where an estimated $45,000 worth of theft and damage occurred.

“These aren’t protesters that did these actions last night, these are violent criminals, do not call them protesters,” Noem said.

Noem says change only happens if we create change, and has charged her team with finding solutions through legislative action.

“We have been having this conversation about race and inequality for decades in this country and a lot of politicians and public figures stand up and talk, and frankly I’m more interested in what we can do,” Noem said.

Despite last night’s violence, Noem says a vast majority of South Dakotans made the right decision.

“There is no other governor in this country that has trusted her people more than I have, and I still do trust the folks of this state,” Noem said.

The governor says she’s aware of planned protests in other South Dakota cities, and is working to help make sure those protests remain peaceful.

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