Flyers bearing the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) logo and message have been turning up in Ellicott City, Maryland — and police would like to know who’s behind it, the Baltimore Sun is reporting.
About 40 fliers were found on the side of the road on a busy street running through the town, apparently having been “dumped” there, as Howard County police department spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn describes it. She says that the flyers appear to have been tossed, possibly from a moving vehicle, rather than placed anywhere with care.
As such, Ellicott City police have concluded that the distribution of the flyers was not directed at any specific person or business.
As of this writing, the content of the flyers is not clear, with various Baltimore- and Washington-area newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations all declining to reproduce the message. In fact, it appears that media outlets have generally been loathe to spread such messages when similar incidents have occurred. As Snopes reports, earlier this year a Virginia newspaper posted the contents of a KKK flyer, and was met with outrage because of it.
Regardless of what the flyers actually say, the police are taking them seriously. They are asking anyone who may have security camera footage of the vehicle — and passenger — allegedly dumping the flyers to contact them.
Howard County Police say that so far, 40 KKK flyers have been collected from the Ellicott City area.https://t.co/UDIS7hKfmi— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) November 18, 2018
Howard County Councilman Jon Weinstein said that he is “saddened and disturbed” about the KKK flyers showing up in his county.
“There is no place for hate in our society and after all Ellicott City has been through in the past two years, it is heartbreaking to see this community faced with this disgusting display of antisemitism, racism and intolerance.”
Meanwhile, Maryland appears to have become a target for KKK recruitment, notes the Grio. For example, in October, KKK flyers were found in a South Baltimore neighborhood twice in a period of two weeks. Perhaps not coincidentally, the flyers started showing up after a white man, 25-year-old Timothy Moriconi, was robbed and then killed by a black man outside of his home, according to an October Baltimore Sun report.
Outside of Baltimore, the Klan and other hate groups appear to be growing in size and scope. As for the KKK specifically, whether or not it is growing or shrinking largely depends on whom you ask. For example, the Independent claims that the KKK is actually losing members, even though Imperial Wizard Chris Barker claimed that the hate group has grown “at a record pace” since the election of Donald Trump.
Apart from the Klan, though, it is likely that white nationalism and white supremacist groups are seeing an uptick in membership and visibility in recent years. As ABC News reported in February, last year a four percent increase in the number of hate groups was recorded — to say nothing of the rise in the number of people affiliated with such groups.