FARGO — More than two dozen people took part in a demonstration Friday afternoon, July 31, to mark the retirement of Police Chief David Todd on what was his last official day as head of the Fargo Police Department.
The rally, organized by local activist group OneFargo and supported by representatives of Black Lives Matter, took place in front of the police department's headquarters.
"As devoted members of the community, we would like to make sure that Police Chief David Todd spends his last day doing what he loved to do best: pretending he's at war with the citizens of Fargo, and trying to quell peaceful protest," OneFargo said in a Facebook statement about the event, which was scheduled to run from 4-6 p.m. Friday.
Organizers of OneFargo and Black Lives Matter, both organizations that are pushing for local police reforms, had asked that the city fire Todd over the events of May 30, when a peaceful protest march to police stations in Fargo and West Fargo later turned violent in downtown Fargo.
Deputy Police Chief Ross Renner has been appointed interim police chief until Todd's permanent replacement is found.
In a statement released before Friday's demonstration, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the city respects the rights of residents to demonstrate peacefully, but added the city was ready to protect "the safety of residents, their livelihoods and city infrastructure in the event it is necessary."
As of about 5 p.m. Friday, there was no noticeable police presence on site and the situation remained calm.
Before the start of the OneFargo demonstration, a group of people carrying signs and balloons showing support for Chief Todd gathered near the police station.
Professional fighter and Fargo fitness trainer Mariah Prussia said the group wanted to show their appreciation for a police chief who had done much for the community and approached his job with passion.