SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) – A fraternity of the far-right group Proud Boys withdrew their sponsorship of a street dance in the small town of Scotland in September.
David Finnell asked on behalf of the group to have the street dancing from noon to midnight on September 18 in the Bon Homme County community of about 700 people. The city council approved the request to close a section of the city street as required for alcohol consumption and food vendors.
Finnell, in a Facebook message to KELO-TV on Monday, said the Proud Boys were dropping sponsorship of the event out of safety concerns. He did not develop.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Proud Boys as a hate group citing the group’s views on women, Muslims and others, as well as appearing with other extremist groups.
Scotland City attorney Kent Lehr said while the Proud Boys have drawn negative national attention, there have been no issues locally. He understands that several local or area residents are associated with the Proud Boys, Lehr said.
“I’m not saying the city condones or approves of what the group is saying,” Lehr said. The council had to assess the Proud Boys’ demand for street dancing like it assesses any other demand, he said.
“It has to consider the benefits to the community, any potential disruption (to the street closure and caused by the event), the benefits to Main Street businesses,” Lehr said.
Finnell said the Proud Boys were planning to raise funds for local nonprofits before deciding on Monday to withdraw from the event.
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