The Knight Riders, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, in Nahunta.!
Ku Klux Klan moving rally back to Nahunta Constitutionally, the group has a right to assemble. The event will be on U.S. 301.
BY TERRY DICKSON AND TERESA STEPZINSKI STORY UPDATED AT 2:45 PM ON FRIDAY, FEB. 12, 2010
They weren’t invited, haven’t been welcomed publicly and have no permit to use any parks, but Ku Klux Klan members
plan to march in Nahunta nonetheless.
The Knight Riders, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is back to its original plans and will hold a rally from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, in Nahunta.
The city is still refusing, however, to let the group rally in the City Hall parking lot.
After city officials last week rejected a request to use the parking lot, the Knight Riders obtained a permit from Brantley County officials to meet at a ball field in Schlatterville, a community 15 miles west of Nahunta.
Now it’s back to Nahunta, but the meeting is scheduled for a public street, city officials said Thursday.
Nahunta plans to close U.S. 301, the city’s main north-south thoroughfare, between U.S. 82 and a point about three bloc north, City Clerk Angie Wirth said.
“They have a constitutional right to assemble. We can’t tell them not to,” Wirth said.
The city is sticking with its decision of last Friday denying the KKK use of the City Hall parking lot because it had never been a public forum, City Attorney Kelly Brooks said.
“They are not being given permission to come. They’re just coming. We cannot stop them. They can walk as long as they don’t obstruct the free flow of traffic,” Brooks said.
The Knight Riders met Wednesday with Nahunta Police Chief Robert Johns and other city officials and said they were coming anyway in keeping with their constitutional right to free speech and peaceful assembly, Brooks said.
Several residents told the Times-Union last week they fear the rally will lead to violence, specifically confrontations between Klan members and their opponents.
As along as they obey the law and city ordinances, there is nothing the city can do to stop them. Nonetheless, Mayor Ronnie Jacobs and City Council members are like some residen in being concerned about the potential for violence, Brooks said.
When Grand Dragon Gregg Wolf told County Manager Parrish Barwick late Wednesday the group had decided to go back to its original plans to rally in Nahunta, the county revoked permit it issued for use of the Schlatterville ball park, County Commission Chairman Ronald Ham said.
The decision came about the time county Sheriff Robert Thomas was meeting with Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Bureau of Investigation authorities to discuss security for the Schlatterville rally.
Ham hopes the Klan keeps its promise to obey the law, and that city, county and state law enforcement officers work together to ensure everyone’s safety. “I just pray the good Lord gives everybody temperance,” Ham said. The Knight Riders have said the rally concerns public awareness about sex offenders, illegal immigrants, prayer in school, organizers said.