County rejects Klan group's bid to rally again in Dayton

Ku Klux Klan groups looking to unify, thrive in today's political climate
Posted at 11:39 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 11:39:12-05

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Montgomery County denied a permit application by a Ku Klux Klan group that wanted to hold another rally in Dayton, citing a significant threat to public health and safety, officials said Friday.

The county board also cited the commercial and financial harm a rally would cause. In a prepared statement announcing their decision, the commissioners said taxpayers should not be forced to bear the financial burden needed to fund law enforcement and security measures during the event, nor should businesses be forced to shutter their doors.

“We at the city will continue to do everything in our power to make sure no groups that want to cause us harm can hijack our city at great cost to taxpayers and our businesses," Mayor Nan Whaley said in a prepared statement.

An Indiana Klan group had recently asked for a permit for a Sept. 5 rally in Dayton. At least 10 people wanted to speak publicly while defending “white Christian American rights," the application stated.

Fewer than 10 people rallied last May on Dayton's courthouse square, outnumbered by hundreds of anti-Klan protesters. A massive police presence kept order without direct clashes or injuries after many downtown businesses shut down and roads were blocked.

While there was widespread sentiment against the rally in 2019, local authorities concluded they had to allow the group to exercise its freedoms of speech and assembly.

Officials have said the cost of protecting the Klan members and anti-Klan-protesters during the rally and alternative events held last Memorial Day weekend ran roughly $650,000. Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein estimated costs at $250,000 for personnel and $400,000 for materials.