Public officials, community leaders respond to Fargo riots
FARGO, N.D. — “Black lives matter. Period. No question. But we do not support anarchy.”
Those are the words of Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney after what began as a peaceful protest Saturday morning at Island Park evolved into violence and destruction.
“We do not support vandalism,” he says. “That is not us, and that is not Fargo.”
Mahoney says he believes the vandalism of buildings and broken glass panels of several downtown businesses are the result of “outside influence.”
Those who were at the peaceful protest over George Floyd’s death earlier agree.
“The people I was seeing that was doing all of that was nobody that I recognized from the peaceful protest. That was not at all our message,” says Ritchell Aboah.
“You don’t go around burning or breaking stuff,” adds Matuor Alier, another protestor. “These are our shops. This is the local shop. Those are the ones building Fargo.”
Fargo Police Chief David Todd says four police officers needed medical attention, two of whom have concussions from rocks thrown at their heads.
“I want to thank my officers who were in harm’s way,” he says. “It was difficult to watch that.”
Both city officials and community leaders agree that now is the time to move forward and have open dialogue to affect positive change.
Gov. Doug Burgum stresses, “If you want to have a dialogue in North Dakota, all you have to do is ask. We stand ready to meet with anyone to hear their concerns, to listen, to be present, to feel whatever hurt they may have, regardless of how many generations they may feel they’ve been wronged.”
Burgum goes on to say that in North Dakota, there’s the space, time and capabilities to have these types of discussions.
But, he says, when things turn violent, the rule of law must be enforced.
Mayor Tim Mahoney will also join our morning crew live on air Monday during the 8 o’clock hour.