Sunday night's peaceful protest in Sioux Falls devolved into a display of violence around the Empire Mall.

Dakota News Now is reporting that hundreds of people participated in a protest over the death of George Floyd.  The gathering started around 5 PM in the downtown area of Sioux Falls.  Not too long after the planned protest route concluded, hundreds of individuals continued to march through Sioux Falls along 41st Street until they ended at the Empire Mall at approximately 9 PM.

After their arrival, protesters proceeded to throw rocks at the businesses and police standing guard outside the Empire Mall around 9:30 PM.  Over the next hour and a half, police had to deploy tear gas multiple times as well as use rubber bullets on several individuals.

Despite the violence taking place around the Empire Mall, some protesters tried to shield officers at the scene in an effort to settle the situation.

In a press conference on Sunday night, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken says that a group of 700 "bad actors" were responsible for the violence that erupted around the Empire Mall.  Mayor TenHaken explained that the peaceful, planned protest is not involved with this act of violence and it is a separate event. He called this innocent "embarrassing."

Mayor TenHaken did confirm looting in the area after glass at businesses were shattered. There were multiple reports of vandalism, including damage to cars, near the mall area, and along 41st Steet.  Several windows were broken on 41st Street businesses, including Chicos, Verizon, and Riddles Jewelry.

Even though the violence appears to have subsided, the Sioux Falls Police Department will continue to heavily monitor the situation.

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