Nine Klansmen met by 350 officers, 600 counter-protesters
A rally by an obscure Ku Klux Klan group that drew only nine participants was met Saturday with an overwhelming law enforcement and counter-protest presence in Dayton, Ohio.
The rally by the Honorable Sacred Knights, a KKK group from Indiana, went off without incident after police fenced off the Montgomery Courthouse Square, placing two police lines, a barricade, and blocks of distance between the KKK and a protest crowd estimated at 600.
Police said the rally drew nine people.
“You could barely see them, and definitely couldn’t hear a word they said all day,” tweeted Mr. Fischer, who was on the scene.
The city spent an estimated $650,000 on security measures, with about $250,000 for personnel and $400,000 for contracts and materials, according to WHIO-TV.
About 350 officers were on the scene. Joining the Dayton Police Department were officers from the Ohio State Patrol, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo police.
“Some may be critical of this investment,” city manager Shelley Dickstein told WHIO-TV. “Unfortunately in today’s world where individuals are free to open carry unlimited numbers of guns and where we have seen vehicles driven into crowds of peaceful protesters, we feel this investment was necessary.”
There were no arrests. Some protesters carried firearms, as shown on social media. Among the protest groups that turned out to denounce the KKK group were Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the New Black Panther Party.
The Mayor said she was angered by having to spend public funds “responding to people who want to make our neighbors less safe” in a statement last night. Some taxpayers told me they were frustrated by that too today though they agreed it was needed for public safety. @whiotv John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) May 25, 2019
To give perspective on how far apart these two sides were, here’s me fully zoomed in on the KKK people, then zooming out to the perspective the counter demonstrators had through cops and fence.You could barely see them, and definitely couldn’t hear a word they said all day. pic.twitter.com/VcKTnJnrXw Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) May 25, 2019
Downtown #Dayton, OH is fully closed off to cars and there’s heavy police presence for the KKK rally and counter protest. (EMT are wearing bullet proof vests, snipers on roof, lots of riot gear cops, etc.) pic.twitter.com/7zlMqW4A16 smoketinged (@smoketinged) May 25, 2019
The NAACP Dayton Unit held a festival at the same time as the rally at McIntosh Park, which drew Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and other elected officials Throughout the city were signs posted with the message, “Dayton Unites Against Hate.”
“I am very glad that today’s events went off without incident and the hate group that tried to threaten our city is gone,” Ms. Whaley said in a statement. “Daytonians demonstrated what we’ve known all along that we are a community that can come together in a time of fear and anger and peacefully stand up for our neighbors.”
The NAACP was scheduled to hold Sunday a “symbolic cleansing of the square” at the site of the KKK rally.