FERGUSON, Mo. (CBS St. Louis/AP) — The Ku Klux Klan is warning that they will use “lethal force” against violent protesters in Ferguson.
The Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK have been distributing fliers in St. Louis County ahead of the grand jury’s decision whether or not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The August shooting touched off months of protests.
The fliers call protesters “terrorists” who are masquerading themselves to look peaceful.
“You have awakened a sleeping giant. The good people of St. Louis County of all races, colors and creeds will not tolerate your threats of violence against our police officers, their families, and our communities. We will not sit by and allow you to harm our families, communities, property nor disrupt our daily lives. Your right to freedom of speech does not give you the right to terrorize citizens.
“We will use lethal force as provided under Missouri Law to defend ourselves.”
Frank Ancona, imperial wizard and president of the Traditionalist American Knights, told MSNBC that the reception to the fliers has been “very good.”
“It kind of came about from hundreds of calls we’ve been getting from residents of St. Louis County concerned with things that they are seeing on social media about random attacks on whites, D.C. sniper-style-type shootings, police officers being threatened that their wives are going to be raped and that they are all targets,” Ancona explained.
Ancona added that “a lot of people are living in fear” and the KKK wants to address residents of their rights on how to protect themselves.
“It’s addressing the people who are making these terroristic threats and letting them know that the people of Missouri have rights too,” he told MSNBC. “And it’s basically educating them on that law and letting them know what their options are.”
Top St. Louis city and county officials are urging residents to remain calm once a decision in the Brown case is announced.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said at a joint news conference Wednesday that while protesters’ civil rights will be respected, looting and violence will not be tolerated. They say they’re ready for whatever happens.
Dooley says much progress in regional race relations has been made in the three months since Brown, who was black, was shot by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.
During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon said the National Guard will be available if needed and that more than 1,000 police officers received special training ahead of the decision.
“That ugliness was not representative of Missouri and it cannot be repeated,” Nixon said.
The grand jury weighing whether to charge Wilson is expected to make a decision this month, raising concerns that protests could turn violent as they sometimes did in the days after the Aug. 9 shooting.
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