Members of a Missouri-based chapter of the Ku Klux Klan have been distributing fliers in the St. Louis metro area promising to use “lethal force” against protesters in Ferguson who they say have threatened police and their families.
The Traditionalist American Knights also have taken to social media, and refer to the protesters as “terrorists” masquerading as peaceful.
“You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan!” the flier exclaims. “There will be consequences for your acts of violence against the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of Missouri.”
It’s not the first time the Klan — which is widely regarded as a hate group for its history of persecuting and abusing minorities — has taken a stand on the Ferguson protests, which have exposed deep racial tensions in the St. Louis area and inspired waves of racist and hateful speech on social media.
In August, a different KKK chapter declared that it was fundraising for Darren Wilson, the police officer whose fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown prompted public outcry. Wilson remains free and unindicted pending a grand jury decision on whether to charge him with a crime.
At the time, the Traditionalist American Knights expressed skepticism of the fundraiser and noted that an avowed KKK presence in the area would obviously be problematic.
“There hasn’t been some kind of mandate coming down from the top saying we need to get people out to Ferguson,” Frank Ancona, the group’s Imperial Wizard, told VICE News in August. “I see no purpose to interject the Klan into this whatsoever. We’d create more discord and more animosity against whites and law enforcement up there if we were present.”
The Traditional American Knights specifically singled out Bassem Masri, a local activist in Ferguson.
Masri told VICE News that statements he made in October after the killing of Vonderrit Myers by an off-duty cop were misunderstood. As Masri was live-streaming a protest, he was heard saying to a police officer, “Your life is in danger, homie,” asking him, “What happens when we take your gun?”
He attributed the comments to the emotion of the moment, and said that more attention had been paid to them than to the actual violence executed by police.
Masri called the KKK’s threat of force “cowardly.”
Black lives matter.
Sound off below!