There are no known hate groups centered in Franklin County, but organizations within the region are recognized for advocating racism.
Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton said he is unaware of any hate groups operating here, nor any crime linked to those subcultures.
“There is nothing on my radar,” he said. “We really don’t have those groups — we have been pretty blessed.”
Bob Parks, Franklin County prosecuting attorney, noted that he has had no reports come across his desk of gatherings of hate groups, or links to the organizations.
“We have not seen the KKK, skinheads or white supremacists to any extent out here,” he said, “nor do we have any problems with rallies.”
According to the Alabama-based nonprofit activist group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there are 24 hate groups located in Missouri.
That list includes the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Park Hills in St. Francois County, and ACT for America, an anti-Muslim group in Ste. Genevieve.
If the sheriff’s office is notified of a suspected hate group, detectives will investigate, Pelton noted.
“We would start an intelligence file, and collect and gather information,” he said. “We would want to make sure that no laws are broken or violated.
“We also want to be sure that no citizens are at risk,” Pelton added.
While it is not illegal for a racist or supremacist group to meet, “burning crosses in a yard is,” he commented.
Pelton urged anyone who knows of a hate group operating within the county to contact the sheriff’s office.
“We welcome information regarding them,” he said.
There have been instances of Ku Klux Klan members holding or scheduling rallies in Franklin County, including an event in August 2014 in Sullivan.
Members of the hate group also were in downtown Union in February 2012 conducting recruitment efforts and handing out literature.
Regional, State Groups
In the metro St. Louis area are black separatist groups, including Nation of Islam, New Black Panther Party, Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge and Israel United in Christ.
White nationalists based in the region are Conservative Citizens Foundation, Bridgeton, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, St. Louis.
An Anti-LGBT group called the Mass Resistance Missouri is based in St. Louis, as well as The Daily Stormer, a group dubbed neo-Nazis. The SPLC also lists Invictus Books, Wentzville, as a “general hate” group.
There are several other statewide hate groups, according to the SPLC, including Aryan Strikeforce, racist skinhead; Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; American Vanguard, white nationalist; White Boy Society, white nationalist; and Supreme White Alliance, racist skinhead.
The SPLC states hate groups are those with “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”
The activist group has been vocal in labeling hate groups, but some are critical of the activist group, stating it is left leaning and labels conservative groups as hate groups.