KKK Group In Dayton Get Exclusive Rights to Courthouse Square

KKK affiliated group advertises their Saturday 25 May event in Dayton with President Trump's name displayed prominently.

The city of Dayton confirmed yesterday in a press conference that the police will restrict the public from entering Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton when the KKK affiliated Honorable Sacred Knights 311 (HSK) holds their permitted rally titled Members and Supporters Only Rally, Saturday 25 May, just over a week away.

The city also confirmed HSK, which claims to be a Christian organization, intends to be armed, and have their faces covered at the 25 May event advertised online with the image of an American flag wrapped around a thumbs up, and the word “Trump”.

Dayton City Attorney Barbara Doseck, who led the press conference, announced a consent decree that concluded a lawsuit regarding the event which the city brought against HSK. Doseck touted the agreement as preventing “the group from acting as a paramilitary organization” by restricting “rifles, long guns, shot guns, assault rifles, knives, bats, or shields to its rally. Also they agreed to not wear tactical gear during the rally.”

However two months ago, 14 March, HSK wrote on their Facebook page, “We agreed to it with the city of Dayton's attorney yesterday. We agreed to not to [sic] wear tactical gear, which we don't, not to bring long guns or assault rifles, and not to bring flame throwers, which we don't...The protestors are not allowed to have any of the mentioned items either.”

Doseck acknowledged in the press conference, “There were two items in particular that we were not able to get into the consent decree that we had hoped, and they included masks, covering of the face, was the first issue, and the second issue was the use of sidearms, or open carry.”

In the same Facebook post 14 March, HSK wrote, “Some of our members will be armed with side arms and have CCW [Carrying a Concealed Weapon] permits.”

According to a later HSK post on 4 April, “after our appointment with the Dayton attorney we agreed to their demands except for the covering of faces.” This contradict Doseck’s claim the city tried to negotiate HSK not wear “sidearms, or open carry.”

Under that same post on 4 April, HSK wrote “If the city ends up stopping our rally then we will still be there. The destination will be announced as soon as the city decides if they want to allows us our Constitutional rights or if they would rather have a lawsuit against them.” The 4 April post said, “Someone go tag Mayor Nanny and her army and let them know that we are planning to file a lawsuit. Clarence Brandenburg won, Jeff Berry, God rest his soul, won and so will we.”

Clarence Brandenburg was a KKK member who challenged Ohio’s speech laws and became a precedent setting supreme court decision ruling that the courts must determine not just whether hateful rhetoric is "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action" but also whether it will likely succeed. Jeff Berry, also a KKK member, was sentenced to seven years in prison for detaining a journalist in his home with a deadly weapon.

Counter protester have said they will protest the HSK event across the street, gathering in front of the PNC Bank, but do not have a permit. Others who don’t like the KKK, and HSK, said online it’s better not to protest against them when they come to town as one professed Christian wrote under the 4 April post, “The best protest (for the people in Ohio) is not to even show up to the rally in my opinion but not everybody has discernment, self control, and a mature mind.”

To which HSK responded, “We don't care what anyone thinks of us tho. We don't do what we do to try and make friends. We do what we do because it's the rights thing to do. Nobody except for our supporters and members are invited to our rally.”

Columbus Anti-Racist Action, Black Lives Matter Miami Valley, and Showing Up for Racial Justice, Greater Dayton Chapter were contacted for comment at 2pm but did not respond before the end of the work day.

The organizers have framed the event as an educational event for members and supporters only. When one person online asked, “So what are you really about?” HSK responded, “You're more than welcome to email us. We're not writing it on here. Most likely someone will report it to Facebook.”

The consent decree does provide the police the right to shut the rally down if the terms are not adhered to including a policy of entering and leaving in a method agreed by the police, and promptly between 1pm and 3pm on the 25th. When Dayton Police Spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace was asked whether they will follow up with an online listing on stating incorrectly the event will occur from 12-2pm, she replied “We are going by the permit.” Asked if that meant the police will not ensure HSK advertising match the terms of the permit, she said, “I don’t know. You can email your questions.”