Did the SFPD need to don Riot Gear at last week’s protest?

I would like to start by applauding the folks (whoever they are) that organized last week’s successful abortion protest. They did it without a permit and thru private messaging. And while a handful of people got arrested, it is quite an accomplishment to pull off a protest of 1,100 people with NO injuries and NO damage to public or private property.

That is a what you call a successful protest.

We have already determined that the group did not need a permit. They were well within their constitutional rights. But what about the street incident?

I have spoken with several protesters about what really took place and why those folks were in the street to begin with. A couple of them have had experience in public safety for over 20 years and several others have been protesting since the early 70’s. They know how civil disobedience can be achieved successfully without anyone or anything getting hurt.

For the most part they said police officers were doing a good job controlling the crowd even without advance notice. The police decided they needed to move the large crowd to Lyon’s Park which required them to close 14th street. THE POLICE CLOSED THE STREET NOT THE PROTESTERS. Up until that point the crowd was moving.

Where things went awry is when the police in riot gear showed up and started forcing people to the park. One protester told me that there really was no reason to have riot gear and smoke bombs, it was just an attempt to intimidate and incite a riot.

So the next time a group of peaceful protesters show up unannounced, leave the tactical gear at the station and politely ask them to move to the other side of the street.



11 comments ↓

#1 Blasphemo on 07.04.22 at 9:52 am

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, L3ewis. IMO, decades of US law enforcement experience dictates they straddle a line between proactive and reactive responses to situations impacting public and police officer safety. Obviously, the protesters – whether peaceful or provocative – vastly outnumbered the police. If such a situation escalates out of control to threaten the public and police, the only means for the outnumbered police to maintain safety and order is to bring weapons (anything from tear gas/flash bombs/dogs/rubber bullets/lethal ammunition) to bear against the larger crowd. IMO, the eventual SFPD response with tactical gear & smoke was a restrained but strong symbolic measure – along with their announced declaration of “illegal assembly” – to signal the protest was approaching a safety threat to everyone involved. The SFPD would have been roundly criticized had they failed or waited to deploy the “riot” gear in advance of a situation escalating out of their control. Given the size of the crowd and decision NOT to secure a permit in advance, I think the SFPD handled the situation with professionalism and respect for free speech.

#2 Very Stable Genius on 07.04.22 at 9:55 am

Most likely they didn’t want another Empire Mall incident, but in the Mall incident, it was the police and not the protesters who channeled the crowd to the Mall’s landscaping rocks.

#3 Tactical Gear? on 07.04.22 at 10:52 am

The lack of training and “big city” experience on the part of the police by the Sioux Falls administration brings the overzealous response bringing the swat troopers first.

#4 Woodward And Bernstein on 07.04.22 at 12:58 pm

Scott Ehrisman….17 percent of the time he’s right every time.

#5 Scott D Hudson on 07.04.22 at 6:26 pm

They were expecting that caravan from North Dakota to finally arrive.

#6 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 07.04.22 at 8:21 pm

Our SWAT Team coming out to protect us from feminists in Daisy Duke shorts is like Barney getting his one bullet out of his front shirt pocket.

#7 LCJ on 07.05.22 at 4:52 pm

It is “don” not “dawn”.
First it was 200 illegal protesters, then it was 1100. Which is closer to the real number?
These kind of people have been known to be violent across the country. Far better to show strength than weakness.

#8 l3wis on 07.05.22 at 5:08 pm

It was NOT illegal. You don’t need a permit to peacefully protest. They were well within their constitutional rights, even the Police Chief said that. This is what happens when you have a bunch of right wing authoritarian wackos running our country. I’m hoping the country wakes up and rejects these weirdos who want to take us back to 1770.

#9 LCJ on 07.05.22 at 5:40 pm

Yet, there were arrests.
Sorry, but the country has a Dem president, Senate and House. All are whackos for sure but liberal not conservatives. The President has been on government payroll for half a century. About the same amount of time Roe V Wade was sitting on the shelf waiting to be codified. But now you want to go after Conservatives.
Tsk Tsk. Better get after your lazy Dem legislators.

#10 l3wis on 07.05.22 at 6:12 pm

Nobody was arrested for peacefully protesting, just a handful of young folks sitting in the street. But I know that doesn’t fit your narrative, because you are a right winger authoritarian. There was NO reason to codify Roe, because it was precedent. The only thing the disgusting Republicans do is obstruct, oh and nominate wacko judges. Worthless as tits on a boar.

#11 i12doit on 07.07.22 at 7:54 am

Blaming the organizers is nothing short of shameless, meant to “Keep the woman in her place.” It’s events like this that will change the political landscape in South Dakota, and that is what isn’t wanted by the testosterone driven troglodytes. Patriarchy in all its masking’s rears its ugly head more noticeably when women make some noise and rattle the cage that they are in. Women have had to fight tooth and nail for their rights. Just over 100 years ago they couldn’t even vote like the white male. It’s been even worse for the black race who still struggle to vote without interference. The word “Feminist” gets tossed around so as to make it appear women are radicals. There is nothing radical about wanting equality, it’s just basic human dignity. It’s abusive, that’s what it is and shaming the organizers just shows how sound male dominance is at the city leadership level. It must be a busy life trying to keep the girls reined in. This shameful nonsense has to stop. Patriarchy is a system that many don’t even realize exists until a woman screams, and she is restrained visibly. Smoke bombing women is no different than domestic violence when a man chokes a woman or impedes here breathing. Isn’t that a penalty enhancer for that crime? However, here the SFPD is able to do it with impunity and make it appear it was or was going to be a riot. Grow up SFPD and treat your wives, daughters, Sisters, Grandmothers and Aunts with a little compassion as you would your “Bro’s.” Quit abusing women under the guise of “Law Enforcement.” Just my opinion…