HAMLET — In a town that has been rife with gang activity over the last year and a half, a hate group is seeking to recruit members.
At least two fliers for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were found near the Hamlet Depot on Saturday during the town’s Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration, according to Detective Capt. Randy Dover of the Hamlet Police Department.
The fliers were in plastic storage bags with white rice and read: “SAVE OUR LAND JOIN THE KLAN.” Also on the leaflets were a “Klan Hotline,” a website address — which came up as unavailable — and a mailing address.
Dover said this is the first time in his 3½ years with the department that he’s seen any KKK literature in the town.
While the fliers themselves aren’t illegal, Dover said their distribution is “concerning.”
“We don’t need that in this community,” he said Monday. “It’s nothing but causing trouble … raises tensions between people.”
Dover said there have been no other reports of KKK activity in Hamlet.
Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly said Monday that there also haven’t been any reports in his department’s jurisdiction. Messages left with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Monday were not returned.
The Loyal White Knights group is a branch of the KKK based in Pelham, an unincorporated community on the Virginia border in northwest Caswell County.
The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, in a summary, quotes the group’s website saying its main goal is to “protect our family, race and nation” and “restore America to a White, Christian nation founded on God’s word.”
According to reports from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, The Loyal White Knights are the most active KKK group and have been responsible for more leaflet distribution than any others since 2014.
Fliers to the ones found in Hamlet were reported last month in Alexander County, where the sheriff said he would charge those responsible with littering, according to WSOC-TV in Charlotte. Fliers have also been recently distributed in Illinois, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia, found in the driveways of residences and businesses.
The group’s leader, Chris Barker, was charged in connection with a stabbing last December, but was not convicted and does not have a court date listed in online records.
In 2015, the Times-Union of Albany, New York reported that Barker, working with the FBI, had secretly recorded a conversation with man seeking the KKK’s support for a mobile death ray.
The Loyal White Knights are one of four KKK groups (not including statewide) in North Carolina shown on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which also includes the locations for neo-Nazi, skinhead, Nation of Islam and other extremist groups.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]