Proud Boys withdraw from sponsoring dance in Scotland, S.D.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A fraternity of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys has withdrawn its sponsorship of a street dance in the small town of Scotland in September.
David Finnell applied on behalf of the group to have the street dance from noon until midnight Sept. 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 Monday, said that the Proud Boys were dropping sponsorship of the event out of concerns for safety. He did not elaborate.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Proud Boys as a hate group citing the group’s views about women, Muslims and others, as well as appearing with other extremist groups.
Scotland’s city attorney Kent Lehr said while the Proud Boys have gained some negative national attention, there have not been any problems locally. It’s his understanding that several local or area residents are associated with the Proud Boys, Lehr said.
“I’m not saying the city is condoning or agreeing with what the group says,” Lehr said. The council had to evaluate the street dance request from the Proud Boys as it evaluates any other request, he said.
“It has to consider the benefit to the community, any potential disruption (to closing street and caused by the event), the benefit to businesses on Main Street,” Lehr said.
Finnell said the Proud Boys planned to raise money for local non-profits before deciding on Monday to withdraw from the event.