Sullivan officials don’t know for sure whether members of a Ku Klux Klan organization will be conducting a fundraiser in or around their city this weekend, but they have been working with law enforcement just in case.
Information posted on The Raw Story website on Monday indicated that the New Empire Knights announced last Friday it would be conducting the fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday somewhere in the Sullivan area.
“With the police state in Ferguson, we will be holding our fundraiser in Sullivan City, Mo.,” the announcement said. “Donations of $10 and up. All money will go to the cop who did his job against the Negro criminal.”
New Empire Knights Imperial Wizard Charles Murray said in the comments section of the group’s website that the event was “being attended by three different Klan fractions (sic).”
And to anyone thinking of trying to get in the way, Murray warned, “we have guns (and more).”
The statements are in reference to the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Brown was black. Wilson is white.
The shooting has led to violent daily protests and arrests in that city.
The Missouri National Guard was called in on Monday to assist. The Missourian could not confirm by Tuesday’s press deadline if the 1175th Military Police stationed in St. Clair was included. The Department of Public Safety did not return emails or phone calls by deadline.
Facebook and other online media stated the local unit was called to serve.
The New Empire Knights announcement led to Sullivan Mayor Tom Leasor issuing a press release on Monday.
“Recently, the city of Sullivan elected officials and staff were made aware by citizens and various media sources of a scheduled gathering of the Ku Klux Klan to be held in the Sullivan area,” Leasor’s statement read. “City elected officials nor city staff is aware of the specific location for the gathering or have any details regarding the event.
“Furthermore, city of Sullivan elected officials or city staff cannot confirm if the event being discussed will be held inside or outside the city limits of our community. On behalf of the city of Sullivan elected officials and city staff, I want to emphasize that we have not, or will not, endorse or condone any activity based on hatred toward any ethnicity.”
The statement was posted on the city’s website.
City Administrator J.T. Hardy confirmed to The Missourian on Tuesday morning that the city has been working with local police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on an action plan in case the event takes place in or around the city. Hardy would not reveal details of that plan.
“We’re aware of the possibilities,” Hardy said. “We feel like we’ve been put on notice.”
Hardy also said he recently has heard that the event is a “rumor” and “may not even happen.”
“We just don’t know,” he said.
An online report stated that “Media reports that a KKK-sponsored fundraiser for the Ferguson police officer involved in a shooting will take place in our area is a myth. There is no fundraiser, says the KKK and the NAACP. Perpetuating the rumor through media, social media and the rumor mill is irresponsible. There is no KKK rally.”
The Raw Story is an American online news publication founded in 2004 by John Byrne. It covers current national and international political and economic news and publishes its own editorials and investigative pieces. The Raw Story describes itself as progressive, bringing attention to stories that it sees as downplayed or ignored by other media outlets. It is owned by Washington, D.C.-based Raw Story Media Inc.