UPDATE: Sioux Falls Police Chief Thum holds presser immediately after Pro-Choice rally

UPDATE: The ACLU confirms that you don’t need a permit for a protest, just don’t jump in front of cars;

The ACLU of South Dakota notes says though that protesters do not need a permit to protest on sidewalks or streets. Communications Director Janna Farley said that does mean that marchers can’t block or impede traffic in doing so.

“You don’t need a permit to march on streets or on sidewalks, as long as the marchers aren’t obstructing car or pedestrian traffic.” Farley said.

I was impressed that Thum decided to have a press conference last night after the rally last night. It’s a step forward for transparency.

I had heard nothing about the rally until I ran into a couple of people yesterday afternoon telling me they were going to a pro-choice rally at Lyon Park. I never guessed that it would draw more than a couple dozen people. One person who attended told me late last night that he guessed around 1,000 folks were at the rally (he worked in public safety for over 20 years and knows how to count large crowds). That number was verified by Thum this morning on KELO AM.

The rally was organized thru private messaging and the police were aware ‘something’ might happen.

I am all for protesting and upholding 1st Amendment rights.

Where it gets ‘murky’ is what the city ordinance says about events like this;

ASSEMBLIES, PARADES AND PROCESSIONS

§ 96.180 DEFINITIONS.

   For the purposes of this subchapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

ASSEMBLY. Any block party, demonstration, rally, gathering or group of 25 or more persons, animals or vehicles, or a combination thereof, having a common purpose, design or goal, upon any public street, sidewalk, alley or other public place, which assembly substantially inhibits the usual flow of pedestrians or vehicular travel or which occupies any public area, but does not rise to the definition of a special event.

PARADE. Any scheduled walk, demonstration, procession, motorcade consisting of 25 or more persons, animals or vehicles, or a combination thereof, having a common purpose, design, designation or goal upon any public place, which does not comply with normal and usual traffic regulations and controls.

SPECIAL EVENT.

      (1)   Any of the following activities involving 25 or more persons, animals or vehicles, or a combination thereof, open to the general public taking place on public space that involves a temporary and exclusive use of public space involving a substantial deviation from current legal land use or legal nonconforming use and may include, but not be limited to:

         A.   Amusements or carnivals;

         B.   Entertainment;

         C.   Music by way of sound amplification;

         D.   Dancing;

         E.   Dramatic or theatrical productions;

         F.   Festivals;

         G.   Parades;

         H.   Runs, walks, triathlons and bicycle races or rides that will not comply with the normal or usual traffic regulations or controls or are likely to impede, obstruct, impair or interfere with free flow of traffic;

         I.   Any activity involving the sale of merchandise, food or alcohol;

         J.   Any activity making use of structures not already present on the public space such as stages, booths, canopies, awnings, risers, bleachers, fences, partitions, stands or similar constructions; and

         K.   Any activity taking place on public space that may require for its successful execution city services to a degree significantly over and above that routinely provided under ordinary circumstances, as determined by the special events committee.

SPECIAL EVENTS. Shall not include the use of public space by governmental agencies acting within the scope of their authority.

SPONTANEOUS EVENT. An unplanned or unannounced coming together of persons, animals or vehicles as described in this section, which was not contemplated beforehand by any participants therein and which is caused by or in response to unforeseen circumstances or events and which is neither a parade nor as assembly, as defined in this section.

(1992 Code, § 38-133) (Ord. 70-87, passed 8-31-1987; Ord. 55-03, passed 6-16-2003; Ord. 39-12, passed 6-19-2012)

Cross-reference:

   Definitions and rules of construction generally, see § 10.002

§ 96.181 PERMITS AND EXCEPTIONS.

   (a)   Permit required; assembly. No person shall conduct, manage or participate in any assembly without a valid permit or outside the provisions of a permit as provided in this subchapter.

   (b)   Permit required; special event. No person shall hold, sponsor, aid or cause to be held a special event without a valid permit or outside the provisions of a permit as provided in this subchapter.

   (c)   Exceptions. The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to or affect funeral processions.

I am not sure that a spontaneous rally loosely organized thru private messaging classifies as a planned event. I certainly don’t believe a protest or rally needs to have a permit if they are gathering in public places. I think that is a violation of 1st Amendment rights. However, I do agree with Thum that once you start blocking streets it is no longer a rally on public property. Remember, the SFPD does not make the rules, the city council does and they have to enforce them.

I would advise anyone who plans a rally like this in the future to stay out of the street, it doesn’t help your cause when police have to drag you off the street. I think it was only a handful of people who were arrested and MOST of the people at the rally stayed on the sidewalk.

As the authoritarians go on their march in DC to turn our country back 100 years you are going to see a lot more events like this.



15 comments ↓

#1 Reliable Voter on 06.30.22 at 9:07 am

Good for the protesters.

#2 Mike Lee Zitterich on 06.30.22 at 1:02 pm

Scott,
Put the 1st Amendment to the U.S Constitution in proper perspective, it simply says that “Congress” SHALL NOT restrict nor abridge the right to “Assembly”. Keep in mind that the U.S Constitution was written by the “States” in order to create the Federal Govt and to restrict the Federal Govt to stay within the 10 Square Mile Radius of its borders – District of Columbia. So anywhere outside that jurisdiction is up to the “PEOPLE” to govern, regulate, and manage any of our “so called rights” as we have restricted of the Federal Govt.

The State Constitution states – Right of petition and peaceable assembly. The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good and make known their opinions, shall never be abridged. – Article 6, Section 4

The “State Constitution” also allows the State and Local Govt’s to regulate any such activity in order to maintain the peace, public health, and safety of its citizens.

While the Central Govt cannot regulate the activity, the State and Local Govt’s can as “WE THE PEOPLE” have the right to protect our public and private property, let alone our well being.

While the City Ordinance requires a permit, the CITY has never once ever denied such an event, as it has always honored, and respected the people’s ability to hold such events, so long as they act in a respectful, well behaved manner.

The “FEE” you pay for the permit is directed to the Sioux Falls Police Department in order to help protect commercial interests of the Town, let alone protecting the “protesters” from unruly participants.

The “FEE” is simply one financial mechanism ‘we’ have as a community to fund and appropriate revenues for the Police.

An Unlawful Assembly is nothing more than the ‘group’ not honoring and obeying by the ‘rules’ we the people have established.

#3 D@ily Spin on 06.30.22 at 1:12 pm

At least the Chief acknowledged LBGTQ. Other city leaders had nothing to say or do. Next year they should do what they always do. Make a public statement and Catfish for public appearances.

#4 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 06.30.22 at 1:24 pm

Going into the streets gets you press coverage and potential national press coverage. Just walking the sidewalks is the political loneliness of a unnoticed street walker with very little future.

#5 Further Fear & Loathing on 06.30.22 at 1:46 pm

Just walking the sidewalks with a permit: That’s what Teenage Republicans (TARs) are taught at camp. #WhensDustyComing?

#6 Very Stable Genius on 06.30.22 at 4:39 pm

I respectfully disagree.

Walking the sidewalks and getting a permit is what College Republicans would do after years of Teenage Republican (TARs) Camp training (….”They want us to wear red”… “Should I just go with a polo from JCPenney’s, or better yet, should I wear a Ralph Lauren one with the little horsey?”…. (“Nautical would make me look too old, don’t you think?”… ))

Now, I understand why the Police Chief took the position he did, and that’s his expected duty, but what about the whole issue of civil disobedience in our society and the legitimate role it has to play in a free society?

I began to think about the whole concept of civil disobedience once again as the final stragglers from the protest last night walked down Main Street and past the Pavilion. The Pavilion, the old high school that I graduated from in ’79. In fact, in the spring of ’78, I took a quarter history course there, entitled something like: ‘The practice of civil disobedience in our society’. Frankly, I can’t even imagine that course being taught today in our South Dakota schools. Heck, with the fear some have for critical race theory (CRT), how could they ever muster up enough courage to teach the art of civil disobedience in our schools today, or even to tolerate its teaching?

But yep, I took such a course back in ’78 that not only taught the history of civil disobedience like with Gandhi and MKL, but also about the art of the practice of it, the duties a practitioner of it has, and the ethical versus unethical approaches to it.

I particularly remember learning that it is just to break a law, if it is unjust, but you must do it without violence and in a respectful manner, be cooperative with officers, and be willing to suffer the consequences, like possible arrest, and be willing to accept your punishment like incarceration to make your point.

So, there’s nothing wrong with taking to the streets, not getting a permit, as long as you are willing to accept the consequences, but don’t throw rocks at officers, or even call them names (Well, maybe you can call Trump and Noem to F-off, however. 😉 ). Because the recent reversal of Roe is very unjust and strikes at the core of human rights for women in a free society and such an injustice deserves resistance. Or, at least that’s what my teacher taught me at Washington High School back in the day. AND, that teacher was also the assistant wrestling coach back then with a military haircut (Why do coaches always teach social studies?).

Now, one more point needs to be made, however, and that is that an argument could be made that civil disobedience as a political art teaches you to resist the actual unjust law, like a law that prevents people of color to sit at particular diner counters, but since Roe takes away a potential scenario by taking away a right and its potential execution of that right, then the protesters are given no other choice but then to break a corresponding or complementing law, like protest does and don’ts, which is held up by a government that is unjust and wrongly legitimizes a particular policy that is unjust like the Roe reversal…. So, carry-on protesters! Peacefully and respectfully take to the streets! …. (“A permit, you ask?”….. “Well, what is it that they say?” …: “Oh ya, the check is in the mail”….)
😉

( and Woodstock adds: “VSG, you are such a trouble maker, but you are right” …. )

#7 l3wis on 06.30.22 at 5:12 pm

Mike, we pay a collective ‘fee’ to the police every time we buy something in Sioux Falls. That is how they are funded. A public police force should never be a ‘gun for hire’. This is one of the reasons the defund the police movement started, not because people want to get rid of police but because they want those funds redirected into effective policing.

#8 Fearing the Fuhrer & More on 06.30.22 at 5:26 pm

Our police chief is very kind, articulate, respectful, likable, and charming. When he retires “Someday”, in his early 50s, he’ll probably still have a youthful quality about him. But then the question becomes: Will the Republicans then run him for the state house or immediately for the US House? #TheMayorMightHaveCreatedHisOwnOpponent

#9 Mike Lee Zitterich on 06.30.22 at 9:47 pm

Scott,
For years, dating back to the Old West, Local Police Departments have always been predominantly funded by “Licenses, Permits, Indirect Taxes” paid by those whom participate within their Communities commercially, by those who put on social events, to yes, 1st Amendment Assemblies. Commercial Business Owners “pay” to protect the commercial interest of the city, and by paying a permit fee to host a rally, an event, a assembly, “YOU” are paying the Police to secure and protect your right to hold such event.

#10 l3wis on 07.01.22 at 7:44 am

C’mon Mike, you know a majority of the SFPD’s budget is for salaries which come from the operations fund which gets its funding from the 1st Penny Sales Tax. If you added up all the fees that the SFPD collects towards its budget it wouldn’t even add up to 1%.

#11 Mike Lee Zitterich on 07.01.22 at 11:13 am

Scott,
Yes, I agree. The 1st Penny funds much of the Administration today. I was merely stating that for years, License, Permits, Imposition Fees have in the past been used to ‘fund’ the ability to pay for and provide for Law Enforcement. “You” pay for what you wish to use. We have allowed government to get so big today, that it is necessary today to use our direct taxes to fund ‘administration costs’. Who is to blame for the expansive size of government?

You speak on wanting to guarantee public employees a ‘fair wage”, increased benefit packages, etc, that mentality is what led to bloated salaries and costs.

#12 David Z for Mayor on 07.02.22 at 8:21 pm

Cops have to choose which laws to enforce because there are way too many laws out there. Police do not have to use military style tactics to clear streets of protesters. Police with riot gear and smoke bombs are more of a danger to the public than protests in streets. In the slow gradual rise of fascism, public protests are sure to go.

#13 "Woodstock" on 07.02.22 at 8:42 pm

“Oh, I would love to see a political race ‘someday’ between Thum and our Mayor, and then if Thune jumped into it, it could really get confusing”…… (“So, who are you voting for?…. Thum? Thune? or ThuneHaken?”….. )

#14 fun with funding on 07.03.22 at 7:28 am

MZ’s spinning logic goes back to his insistence we travel back to the stone ages or at least the colonial days of institutional slavery and indentured servitude.
Society has changed due to right wing authoritarian attitudes toward acceptance of abuse of people as they gained personal lrights.

#15 VSG on 07.03.22 at 11:47 am

DZ for M indeed!

I trailed the protesters from about a block behind to document the police actions. I saw two SWAT members, one was definitely armed with firepower, in the back of a unmarked mini-van with the tailgate opened-up as their vehicle snuck behind the old First Premier building and into an alleyway. There were also two mysterious late model 4 wheel drive pick-ups parked in the middle of the old Gigglebees parking lot watching the protesters with their engines and lights on. I think they were following them. There was also a middle age guy who followed them and yelled expletives at the protesters. He often called them “Whores!”. Towards the end of their protest walk, the protesters ended-up on 14th again, but most of them made a pitstop at that convenience store there, and at which time I then caught up with the stragglers of that protest walk. One of the young protest ladies ahead of me was holding a big case of bottled water with about a third of the bottles gone. I heard her say to her friend she was walking with: “Say, do you know if anyone paid for this water?”….. There’s your true crime SWAT team!

People need to be educated on the art of civil disobedience. Don’t let armed mini-vans scare you! #Resist #CivilDisobedienceCanBeCivil

( and Woodstock adds: “Well, I know a soccer mom in a mini-van with a determined look on her face can scare me at times”…. )