SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Last night’s violent protest near the Empire Mall is taking focus away from some of the positive interactions in downtown Sioux Falls earlier in the evening.
It can be easy to amplify the intense moments happening right now but there are interactions like this one taking place as well. South Dakota State Representative Linda Duba attended the event downtown and was happy with what she saw.
“The police were respectful. First of all, they didn’t come out in riot gear. And they were very respectful to the participants and the participants also showed their respect to the law enforcement, as we should,” Duba said.
Protesters calling for justice for George Floyd and for an end to racism took time to speak with local officers on the streets. They even offered up fist bumps and handshakes.
“That’s an incredibly important part of this,” Burns said.
Chief Burns says the protest at the courthouse should be set apart from the rest of the evening. He says his officers were proud to stand with individuals to make sure they had a safe space to pursue their First Amendment rights.
“We are part of the community. We represent every person in this city. We want every person in this city regardless of race, creed or ethnicity to understand that they can come to us with any problem, report any crime and that we stand with them. I think that was on display yesterday with our officers that were a part of the crowd early on,” Burns said.
For Duba, it’s important to establish trust.
“That is the way that you police a city, especially when you come out for a peaceful protest. You show that you trust the people of the city to be dignified and accountable and that’s exactly what everyone was. We were all accountable,” Duba said.
If you’d like to hear more of what Chief Burns had to say, you can check out his remarks from police briefing.