Latest Posts





Governor Noem’s Swift Activation of National Guard Preempts Sioux Falls Riot

Sioux Falls may be South Dakota’s largest city, but it’s no Minneapolis in terms of population or the number of demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd. And South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem moved swiftly last night to make sure Sioux Falls did not come to resemble a smaller Minneapolis in looting and rioting either, after a faction of what had been a peaceful crowd of 2,000 protesters turned violent.

The trouble started when some protesters targeted the Empire Mall around dusk, throwing rocks, attempting to pull someone from a car and attacking police.

Sioux Falls Police Lt. Jon Thum on scene said there were “many” officers hit by rocks and that at one point gun shots went off near TJ Maxx, where protesters had begun throwing things at windows.

The situation “escalated very quickly,” [Sioux Falls Mayor Paul] TenHaken said, and encouraged people to go home.

“We need everybody to go home,” he said. “Remember Sioux Falls is a great city, full of great people. We just need to let this cool down.”

But Noem evidently had South Dakota National Guard troops on stand by, ready to go in case of trouble, according to media reports.

“South Dakota hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. We activated the National Guard the minute things turned violent in Sioux Falls,” said Governor Noem. “This is a specialized unit that is prepared for situations like this. We take 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.”

Mayor TenHaken declared an emergency and slapped on a curfew, first on the area around the mall, then citywide. At a press conference today,  TenHaken praised Noem for her preparation and decisive response that freed up local police to concentrate on securing the mall and dispersing protesters before the crowd got out of control.

“I want to  thank the governor, I want to thank the highway patrol, and the [national] guard for the support they provided the city the  last 24 hours and will continue to provide the city,” TenHaken said. “There was a whole lot of behind the scenes legwork that was going  on the  last several days to insure that we were properly resourced for what happened last night.”

Some 70 members of the South Dakota National Guard remain on standby in Sioux Falls, along with other units stationed in cities around the state.

“We believe  firmly  and will always defend the right for freedom of speech and people’s ability to peacefully protest,” Noem said at today’s news briefing. “That changed last night and I  think South Dakotans got a real glimpse of what can happen when that steps  over the line and it becomes violent.”




Upcoming Events

  • Sick Seniors: Minnesota’s Failure to Protect the Elderly from COVID-19

    Location: Online

    Wednesday, July 22nd at 12:00 pm  High COVID-19 death rates are plaguing congregate care facilities across the nation. In some cases, COVID-19 positive patients are even being sent into congregate care homes to free up ICU beds, putting more seniors at risk. In Minnesota, where 80% of COVID-19 deaths are from long term care facilities (the highest percentage in the nation), Governor Walz’s sweeping statewide shutdowns failed to protect Minnesota’s vulnerable elderly population. Join Minnesota State Senator Karin Housley and Avik Roy, president of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, in a discussion about COVID-19 policies that are putting the elderly in…

    Register Now
  • Morning in Minnesota: St. Cloud

    Location: St. Cloud

    Sign up HERE! Courtyard by Marriott St. Cloud 404 West Saint Germain Street St. Cloud, MN, 56301 Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, July 21 for breakfast with Center policy fellow and education expert Catrin Wigfall as she explains K-12 education in the state and its persistent disparities despite decades of increased spending. Following her presentation, Catrin will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude   Catrin Wigfall is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. She is also the director of EducatedTeachersMN and EmployeeFreedomMN. Catrin’s…

    Register Now
  • Morning in Minnesota: Marshall

    Location: Marshall Golf Club

      Sign up for this event HERE! Please join Center of the American Experiment on Thursday, July 16 at Marshall Golf Club for a breakfast with Center economist, John Phelan, as he discusses Minnesota’s economic future. Following his presentation, John will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude John Phelan is a graduate of Birkbeck College, University of London, where he earned a BSc in Economics, and of the London School of Economics where he earned an MSc. He worked in finance for ten years before becoming a professional economist. He…

    Register Now