SCOTLAND — The Proud Boys organization will not hold a scheduled September street dance in this Bon Homme County community of 800 persons, according to a Sioux Falls television station.
KELO-TV reported Monday that David Finnell, who made the application for the dance, said the group would no longer sponsor the event but would seek another sponsor. Finnell confirmed in a Facebook message to KELO that he was the person making the application.
In a Facebook message to the station, Finnell confirmed the Proud Boys planned to raise money for local non-profits before deciding on Monday to withdraw from the event.
The decision was made because of safety concerns for the Proud Boys and the general public, Finnell told KELO. He added that the organization would seek a local sponsor.
The Proud Boys group, described as a far-right international organization, has received national attention in recent months. Authorities have connected the Proud Boys to activities including the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Scotland City Attorney Kent Lehr told KELO that, while the Proud Boys have gained some negative attention, there have not been any problems locally.
The city isn’t condoning or agreeing with the organization and was evaluating the street dance request as it does with any request, Lehr told KELO. Those considerations include the community benefit, potential disruptions by closing the street or the event itself, and the benefit to businesses on Main Street, he added.
The Scotland City Council minutes of the July 12 meeting say Finnell spoke on behalf of the Proud Boys fraternity. The dance would be held Sept. 18, from noon to midnight with approximately eight bands playing throughout that time, according to the minutes.
As part of the council approval, the fraternity would have needed to submit two certified officers to the finance officer to be presented for approval. All vendors would have been required to apply at the finance office with their sales tax licenses to be verified through the Department of Revenue. The dance sponsors also would have been required to bring in adequate number of portable toilets.
A motion was passed unanimously to allow Main Street to be closed from Second Street to Curry Street on Sept. 18 for a street dance contingent that all rules and regulations are followed.
Lehr told the Press & Dakotan he couldn’t confirm any change in the sponsor’s plans on holding the street dance.
“I am unable to verify or deny KELO’s story that Mr. Finnell has withdrawn the request he previously made before the Scotland City Council,” he said. “The only knowledge I have regarding that issue is based upon what KELO has reported.”
A sponsor holds the right not to proceed with an event, Lehr said.
“Certainly, any organization which makes such a request is free to withdraw or cancel the event,” he said. “The City is not going to require this or any organization to hold the requested event even though City approval was given for the event.”