A Ku Klux Klan-affiliated group plans to rally on Courthouse Square next week, and top police officials tonight discussed some aspects of their plan to keep the community secure during a Dayton Community Police Council meeting.
“We want people to remain safe and law-abiding,” said Jared Grandy, Dayton’s Community-police relations coordinator. “If people decide to go downtown and participate in any way with the rally, we want to make sure that they are not the ones getting arrested when they are not the ones who are spewing the message of hate.”
The mayor and city manager have urged people to stay away from downtown on May 25.
About 40 people attended the meeting at the Boys and Girls Club of Dayton.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said many security plans could not be shared with the public, but more information, including more details about areas that will be closed to travel, will be announced closer to the event.
Counterprotesters may be at threat of arrest for certain actions, Biehl said.
“Free speech is not without its limitations regardless to who is speaking,” he said.
It may be unlawful for citizens to gain entry into areas that are closed off or block the ingress or egress to businesses, he said.
“There are a number of laws in this state, that should a person engage in that conduct is no longer free speech and is a criminal offense and those offenses can lead to arrest,” Biehl said.
Biehl said last month that three main responses to the planned Klan rally have percolated through the community: those who say ignore the group, ones wanting to confront the Klan, and those taking a third course.
Biehl said he was impressed with groups scheduling alternate events to express community values and “not appear in reaction to someone else who doesn’t live here.”
Police officials have said that Courthouse Square will be barricaded and off-limits to all but those associated with the Klan group holding the rally permit.
The police will control when and how the KKK group enters and exits the venue and must “immediately leave the Dayton downtown area after the rally is concluded,” according to stipulations of a consent decree agreed to by the city and Honorable Sacred Knights that settled a lawsuit Monday.
Three other meetings before the Klan rally will help train people to make good choices when tensions are running high.
Showing Up for Racial Justice Greater Dayton, or SURJ, will provide de-escalation training on Wednesday and event marshal training Saturday. Next week, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service will hold its event marshal training.
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