Leaders want county to deter Klan group from returning to Dayton

One day after it was announced an Indiana white supremacist group had applied for a permit to hold another rally at Courthouse Square, area leaders called for Montgomery County to deter the group from returning.

“Since the last time they came, people are still trying to recover from the tornadoes, we have schools that are in desperate need of upgrades, roads need repaired and people are hungry,” the Rev. Chad White, who last year helped organize A Better Dayton Coalition to counter the Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana, said Tuesday.

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The Ku Klux Klan-affiliated group based in Madison, Ind. applied to Montgomery County for a permit Sept. 5, a Saturday beginning the Labor Day weekend.

While the county owns Courthouse Square and is responsible for the permitting process, the city of Dayton bears the cost of policing events.

Nine members of the group who arrived last May and the 500-600 counter protesters were kept apart by blocks of fence and the work of more than 700 law enforcement officers.

The city said the cost of protecting the Klan and counter-protesters during the rally and the alternate events held last Memorial Day weekend ran roughly $650,000. Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein estimated costs at $250,000 for personnel and $400,000 for materials. The county also incurred costs but was unable to provide a figure on Tuesday.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley voiced her displeasure on Monday about the group’s plan to return and called on the county to pay for half of any security costs if Montgomery County commissioners approve the group’s permit request.

“I want people to know that the city is doing everything in our power to stop our community from having to go through this again,” she said.

RELATED: Return to Dayton: Mayor said she’s angry about Ku Klux Klan group plans

County officials on Tuesday declined to discuss permit issues in detail, but said the group has not been cleared to hold a rally.

“The county has been consulting with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office and they will be making a determination, but we have not approved the permit,” said Brianna Wooten, Montgomery County’s communications director.

Wooten said the permit process remained unchanged from last year.

The permit was applied for by a Robert Morgan, who provided the same Madison, Ind. post office box address as listed on last year’s application.

White, also the local president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said A Better Dayton Coalition would reorganize in an attempt to keep the county from issuing a permit.

“We will have a somewhat different strategy this time, that will primarily be to call on citizens to put pressure on the county,” he said. “The county has to find another way to handle it … We are calling on the county commissioners to pull their resources together, brainstorm, work late, come in early.”

MORE: Local activists reveal plan for Klan counter protest in Dayton

White said not only is the racial rhetoric from groups like the Honorable Sacred Knights violent, their presence is expensive.

“This is just ridiculous to consider the fact we’re going to have to underwrite these expenses,” White said.

Multiple tornadoes tore through the region just two days after the Klan group’s last Dayton rally in May and then in August a man turned his gun on the Oregon District killing nine before he was shot to death by police.

The Honorable Sacred Knights responded Tuesday in an email to the Dayton Daily News that the group planned to return to Dayton for reasons similar to its May visit.

“We have members in Dayton. Another reason is because it is our right,” the email read. “Every June gay pride is pushed down the throats of our youth. Every February black history is pushed down the throats of our youth. So at least once a year we allow our supporters and members to see white pride in their city.”

Spending on security doesn’t need to be a large concern, according to the group.

“They don’t need to spend $600,000 on security. Just make the protestors follow the same guidelines we agreed to follow,” the group wrote.

MORE: Dayton, KKK rally agreement: What’s the Klan supposed to leave at home?

Derrick Foward, the NAACP’s Dayton Unit president, said he will also be speaking with county leaders about how to deter the group from making a return trip to Dayton.

“While the NAACP fights viciously to make sure people’s civil rights are not impeded upon,” he said. “But at the same time it should not be a burden on the city to spend more than a half-million dollars again for a group that only had nine people come out the last time.”

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