Activist alleges discrimination in Rapid City library job

June 11, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Native American activist alleges Rapid City officials and library leaders discriminated against him by blocking him from being considered for a security officer post at the library.

James Swan of the United Urban Warrior Society works for a security firm that entered into a contract with a Rapid City library in April, the Rapid City Journal reported . Swan’s employer, Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., sent the city a list of officers they intended to assign to a new security post that included Swan.

Swan’s supervisor told him his name was asked to be removed from consideration.

Mayor Steve Allender said library leaders made the final decision to not consider Swan for the role.

Swan, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, alleged he’s been discriminated against because of his political activism.

“I’ve always questioned city government,” Swan said. “I’ve been critical on some issues with the Rapid City Police Department. I’ve been critical on some issues with Allender. I’ve called the city out on things but that’s what the people are supposed to do. The people have a right to step up and question them.”

Rapid City released a statement saying library and city officials believed hiring Swan would create an “unacceptable liability for the city” because of his past behavior.

“While we have no legal authority to influence who is hired by a contractor, the city has no obligation to employ someone with a history of obstructive behavior,” the city stated.

Swan has clashed with the city on homelessness and the treatment of Native Americans by local law enforcement.

Swan hasn’t announced any plans to sue the city.

Heather Smith, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, said it would be difficult to prove Swan’s political affiliation discrimination enough to have a court side with him.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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