SD ACLU training to help South Dakotans choosing protest

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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The South Dakota American Civil Liberties Union hosted an online event Tuesday night to help people understand their rights when protesting. This online event comes just days before the arrival of President Donald Trump to Mount Rushmore.

In the wake of protests in the last month, the South Dakota ACLU hosted a Zoom training, Know Your Rights: Protesting and Demanding Justice. The idea behind it is to make sure people understand their rights when protesting.

"We hosted a live stream and a zoom training webinar for the ACLU South Dakota in regards to knowing your rights when protesting. We all know there is some actions that will be happening up at Mount Rushmore or in the area from both pro and anti-Trump supporters, and land defenders and environmental activists and indigenous activists," said Candi Brings Plenty, SD ACLU Indigenous Justice Organizer.

Brings Plenty is a local activist, who provided some of the advice given at the meeting.

"We wanted to inform folks that the polices main job during a protest is to protect your protest and to deescalate and threat of violence," said Brings Plenty. "Don't say anything, ask for a lawyer immediately, don't sign anything, don't say anything, don't agree to anything, without a lawyer present."

Local law enforcement said they support the right to protest and want everyone's voices to be heard, but they want people to do so safely and to understand the law.

"Well it's important that everybody know the law, and it's going to very from state to state, it's going to very from city to city, some cities have ordinances specific to assembly within the municipality, so you need to be familiar with both. So being familiar with the laws and ordinances is critical," said Kevin Thom, Pennington County Sheriff.

Updates to South Dakota's protesting guidelines went into effect July 1st. Two of the changes include making rioting, or inciting a riot, a felony.

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