SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Sunday was an emotional day for Sioux Falls as thousands gathered to protest peacefully calling for justice for George Floyd and calling for an end to racism. However, as that event ended and the sun began to set, things took a turn as rocks and glass bottles began being thrown at police officers and the Empire Mall began being vandalized.
Early Sunday night, thousands gathered for a peaceful protest honoring George Floyd and calling for an end to police brutality. Vaney Hariri, a civic leader and co-founder of Think 3D Solutions spoke at the march.
“We talked about managing anger. As a person of color who’s been angry for a lot of their lives because of our personal experiences, I don’t want to be angry. I want to be safe. I don’t want to be angry, I want to be respected. I want to be appreciated, I want to be valued,” Hariri said.
That march began at Van Eps Park then moved its way to the courthouse and ended at the police department. Afterwards, protestors continued to take to the streets separately from that peaceful protest. As the sun went down, reports of vandalism and violence began near the Empire Mall.
“A lot of those were young folks and we don’t know what the motives were for why they were doing what they were doing. I’d imagine that some of them may lack the maturity and understanding and realize that they were setting what we were trying to do back. But ultimately, they’d only be setting it back if people allow it to be,” Hariri said.
As Sioux Falls wakes up this morning, Hariri hopes everyone can focus on the peaceful protest that did happen and not the one that happened late last night.
“Both of those ones are fires, right, those are fires that are burning. One with passion, one with anger. Whatever one you choose to put your log on, that fire is going to burn brightest. If that is where you put your energy, that is the fire that will burn brightest. Why would you put your energy to that? Put your energy to the one that is your brothers and sisters and your neighbors and your community that’s trying to tell you that they are passionate, fired up and ready to go to do something to take us to the next level in terms of what we can be as a community,” Hariri said.
The organizers of Sunday’s peaceful protest had worked with the city of Sioux Falls and the police department.