PIERRE, S.D. (AP/KCAU) – Gov. Noem said South Dakota has been in preparation for the worst.
She mentioned that while watching and preparing for Sunday night, the state was in constant communication for the last several days with other governors across the country and the White House.
While watching the peaceful protests that happened earlier, Noem stated that South Dakota has been prepared for “the worst to happen” on the ground, if that did result.
“While we welcomed those peaceful demonstrations, once it got violent and moved beyond the protests, we were ready,” said Gov. Noem.
She mentioned in the news conference that South Dakota National Guard was staged and ready in position in Sioux Falls and they took action.
Within minutes of the activation order, they were on the ground in downtown Sioux Falls which allowed resources to shift to the Empire Mall and helped secure the location and continue to be there and have a presence on the ground.
The governor said that this is a specialized unit that’s prepared for situations like the one on Sunday night.
She commends the local law enforcement, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Guard for being prepared and for acting quickly to take control of the situation at the Empire Mall.
“We take the protection of rights very seriously including the right to peacefully protest but rioting and looting will not be tolerated in South Dakota. Make no mistake, mob rule and violence do nothing to honor the memory of victims that have been impacted,” said Gov. Noem.
The governor said there are 70 National Guard members that are in Sioux Falls.
There are 26 of them from the 114th Fighter Wing, the Air Guard Unit that’s based out of Sioux Falls and 44 from the 235th Army Guard, which are military police that’s trained and are a specialized unit to respond to these situations.
She mentions that the state has a vast majority of personnel from the highway patrol officers and couldn’t give a specific number for security reasons.
They have been assisting throughout Sunday night and are also at the mall, downtown Sioux Falls, and other parts of the city assisting as well.
The governor said the National Guard will “stay there as long as necessary.”
The Argus Leader reports the protest in South Dakota’s largest city started Sunday afternoon with a march downtown.
Police said dozens of protesters later congregated at the Empire Mall and began throwing rocks at officers.
Several businesses in the area of the Empire Mall had windows damaged.
Police said protesters had dispersed by 11 p.m. on Sunday night.
Governor Noem held a news conference from the South Dakota State Capitol in the Governor’s Large Conference Room on Sunday night.
The conference was about the riots that are taking place in Sioux Falls on Sunday night.
The Sioux Falls Mayor has implemented a temporary curfew that started on Sunday night.
Also, Gov. Noem has activated the National Guard to assist in Sioux Falls on Sunday night.
Watch the replay of the live stream above or on the KCAU 9 News Facebook page.