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Protests And Counter Protests In RC Continue

A fourth day of peaceful protests took place in Rapid City following the death of George Floyd, who died when a white police officer kneeled on his neck. Tensions were high because counter protesters were gathering elsewhere in town. Police were communicating with both groups to try and prevent physical altercations. 

Part of the reason tensions were high today is because 5 people were arrested, including two minors, at Tuesday's peaceful protest for blocking traffic. After the arrests, police announced the protest was considered a disorderly assembly and told people to leave. 

Don Hedrick is the Assistant Police Chief for the Rapid City Police department. He says law enforcement has expressed a lot of tolerance for unlawful behavior at the five non-violent protests this week. 

“As these protests continue to be a day after day after day occurrence, we need to start stepping up in offering and showing that we are here to promote public safety.” 

Hedrick says being in the road at night in a group can create a false sense of security since oncoming cars might not see them.Tokata Iron Eyes is a 16 year old activist from Pine Ridge. She came to Rapid to help lead Wednesday's protest.

“I felt very strongly about showing Indigenous solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and with all victims and the families of victims of police brutality because it’s such a big issue in Rapid City and around the country.”

Another protester leading chants is Zjhavese Richardson. She says protests have been a part of change for years, like during the Civil Rights Movement.

“When there would be police officers spraying down our people with fire hoses, letting their dogs loose to eat their skin. This has been a long time coming and I really just feel like there has to be a change, like something has to come of this.” 

A counter protest took place off a main street with people in trucks flying American, Trump, and law enforcement support flags. Tucker Berens says they agree that what happened to George Floyd was wrong, and call themselves anti protest. 

“A counter protester would be coming out here saying all cops are good, the cop did what he needed to do in that situation, killing George Floyd was a good idea. Which it’s not. We are not with that. George Floyd-that was a mistake. It shouldn’t have happened but justice is getting served.”

Another Peaceful Protest is scheduled for Thursday at 5p.m..