Hundreds gather for third protest in Sioux Falls

Jun 13, 2020

Hundreds of protesters lined up with signs along Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls on Saturday, June 13 as cars drive by.
Credit John Nguyen

The protest began at 2 p.m. along Minnesota Avenue, one of Sioux Falls' busiest streets. More than 200 people were lined up with some chanting and cheering, and others playing music while cars drove by honking.

It was originally planned as a march from McKennan Park to Falls Park. But after working with the Sioux Falls Police Department, organizers moved to the new location for visibility and safety.

Seymour Otterman is one of the organizers. He said the nature of the protest changed after talking with officers.

“It’s not a march anymore because we didn’t want to have confrontation with the police.”

Otterman said police officers would disperse protestors even if there was a peaceful march, which influenced the decision to change the protest to a standing one.

This is the third organized protest in the city after the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police officers more than two weeks ago. The first was held on May 30th at that same location. Protesters held signs and chanted as cars passed them by.

The second Sioux Falls protest lasted more than an hour. A few hours later, a separate crowd walked towards the Empire Mall and began throwing rocks towards the building. Police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd and made multiple arrests.

Organizer Danielle Koang said this protest is continuing the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This is so much more than you or me alone," she said. "This is about the entire black community—the social injustice. I wanted to start something up because I don’t want Sioux Falls to stay silent. I want our message to continue to carry.”

Koang says she is planning more protests for the near future.