About 300 Police Kept Peace at Rally With 9 KKK
Guys waving flags and with Ku Klux Klan signs

Dayton police protected nine KKK members with hundreds of police yesterday at a two hour Honorable Sacred Knight of the Klu Klux Klan’s Members and Supporters Only Rally in a show of police force not common in Dayton. Across downtown Dayton about 3,000 peace and equality loving protesters sang songs, led chants, and gave speeches, with several hundred across the street from Courthouse Square, several hundred at the launch of Black Lives Matter Dayton at RiverScape MetroPark, and several hundred more celebrated An Afternoon Of Love, Unity, Peace and Inclusion in McIntosh Park.

“Dayton turned out,” said Dayton resident Miracle Woods who attended the counter protests. “We didn’t do any negative sh*t, we came in love and peace and we left in love and peace,” she said. Woods, who was not with a particular group but identified as being with “the anti-KKK unity,” was critical of how the city handled the KKK permit. She said “the mayor needs her ass whooped” for allowing the KKK permit to be rushed through.

In an emailed statement Montgomery County Director of Communications Brianna Wooten said, “Working with local law enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI, the County was made aware that the original permit was submitted using fictitious names. As a result, a request by the County was made to the group to resubmit the application using the correct names of the individuals organizing the event. The County reviewed the resubmitted application, consulted with law enforcement and legal counsel, and determined that the permit will be approved.”

HSK claimed they were carrying guns, and several counter protest groups where seen carrying guns legally, including the local Black Panther Party (BPP), the Dayton New Black Panther Party. BPP is famous for asserting their right to carry guns for self defense in the face of a history of public lynchings of black people, and United States apartheid laws popularly called Jim Crow policies. Timeco Royal, representing the Dayton New Black Panther Party, who has previously worked for Ohio Family's Unite Against Police Brutality, said regarding the right to carry guns, “We have a set of laws for white people and a set of laws for black people.”

Roughly 300 police patrolled at various points in downtown Dayton including restricting access to most of Courthouse Square, and imposing several road closures in the heart of the city. Police Sergeant JK Thomas, who lead journalists into a press box, after overseeing a bomb expert inspection of reporters and their gear with a canine, said, “I don’t know how many people were hired. I believe they haven’t confirmed the number yet.” Sargent Thomas said they were hiring new officers up to the last minute while others couldn’t make it. Asked about how much this was costing the city of Dayton, Sergeant Thomas said, “I don’t know how much this will cost. I believe the estimates are still coming in.” The actual cost could be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

The Dayton SWAT Police showed up with big armoured vehicles. Large snow plow trucks were placed bumper to bumper to enforce road closures. Police were stationed in a line facing outward around the perimeter of Courthouse Square, virtually an entire city block, and groups of tens of police were stationed across the street at various intervals around the square. Police road at least 17 police horses, and there were 27 police on bicycles in riot gear. The HSK entered the square through a security entrance from a street that had been closed for the event where police had erected multiple tents. A helicopter circled over head for hours.

When Columbus Free Press and another media organization asked independently to be permitted to interview an HSK member, as the press box was too far away from the HSK area to conduct an interview, Sergeant Thomas said the police agreed to enforce the HSK request not to be interviewed by the press, as part of the consent decree made between HSK and police before the event. Then after getting off the phone with Dayton Police Spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace, Sergeant Thomas further explained, the police restriction of the press from contact with HSK is “not in the consent decree, it’s in the media contract” which was signed by all press let into the press box. The media contract didn’t address interviewing HSK but required participating journalists not to leave the press area until the event was over. Sergeant Thomas the police mistakenly thought the press could hear the HSK because HSK told the police that they would have a sound system, which was assumed to be bigger than the bullhorn they brought.

One HSK member led a Christian prayer through the bullhorn that was inaudible from the press box. They shouted “white power” accompanied with Nazi salutes and said “We came to preach a message of love, love for our own people,” and waved the confederate and Klu Klux Klan flag with signs that read “Honorable Sacred Knights of the Klu Klux Klan” and “diversity equals genocide.”

The counter protesters shouted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA”, “Go away, KKK” and “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand”, while a plane advertisement flew above the city reading “Equality forever, bigotry never.” Black Panther Royal said she noticed differences in the conversations she was having with people about whether to stay at home or come out. Royal said, with "people who look like me, its a back and forth conversation. From the people who don't look like me, they try and tell us how we should respond to racism.” Specifically she raised how Ohio State Representative Mike Turner and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who asked the public to stay out of the city center during the KKK rally.

Carlos Buford, a key organizer in the launch event of BLM Dayton, said, “I don’t appreciate that they’re not asking us what we want and getting behind us.” Buford said, “It really pisses me off. They didn’t come into existence to lynch white people, they came into existence to lynch black people...Let’s be clear, if the KKK comes to your community, there is no danger, but when they come to my community there is.”

Buford also spoke about police brutality in Dayton, including the death of police killing of Jamacro McShann in October 2017. Buford said, “When we have police brutality in our community that’s traumatizing for us. That trauma is felt across the whole community. But it’s not felt outside the black community, it’s just not.”

Chad White, representing A Better Dayton Coalition, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, said it’s “ahistorical” and “sophomore” to think the only good response is to stay at home. White explained in the civil rights movement, multiple tactics were represented with the diversity of groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as well as SCLC, and the BPP. White said, “Racism is such a multiple headed snake that you need all those multiple ways to defeat it.”