Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Legal or not, city told to stop KKK

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Raymond Jones, with Cincinnati Concerned Citizens Association confronts Klan Rev. James E. Hogg, on Fountain Square in 1998.
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        There may be no legal reason to deny the Ku Klux Klan a permit for its annual Fountain Square cross, but some citizens are demanding officials deny it anyway.

        If not, they promised Monday at Cincinnati City Hall to counter the Klan message with their own protest — stopping short of threatening violence.

        “We're not accepting it anymore,” said Juleana Frierson. “African-Americans are not going to ignore this. ... Enough is enough, Cincinnati.”

        Another said he would burn American flags on the square and challenged police to stop him. “Our people (have) gone through hell with the Ku Klux Klan,” shouted James Hardy, known as Minister Abdul Muhammad Ali of the National Black Unity Coalition.

        Their ire was sparked during City Council's law committee by a report from city lawyers saying the Klan had a constitutional right to set up its display.

        It was the fourth time in as many weeks lawyers have advised against taking action against the Klan, this time saying the city could not deny a permit simply because a Klan leader has been accused of alleged criminal conduct in another state.

        “They are a sorry, rag-tag group of thugs,” Deputy Solicitor Bob Johnstone said of the Klan. “The fact that you have a personal animosity toward these people is not a reason” to deny a permit.

        Former council candidate Ken Anderson said the city has not gone far enough, saying the solicitor was issuing only an opinion and council should fight the Klan.


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