FRANKLIN, Ind - Franklin is the latest community to report recruitment flyers from the Ku Klux Klan being left in front lawns.
The Johnson County Sheriffs Department received reports from two homeowners in the 300 block of West State Road 44 this week about plastic baggies containing paper and bird seed. The paper inside the baggie was an apparent recruitment flyer from the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
“I was just pretty disgusted by it,” said Judy Peel, whose husband found a flyer by their mailbox. “I don’t know why it would be in our lawn.”
The flyer claims that European white heritage and the Second Amendment are under attack by "minority groups and homosexuals."
“Nobody wanted it to come to this but now you have to choose how you will live… on your knees… or on your feet,” the flyer says.
It urges the reader to seek more information about the “invisible empire known as the Ku Klux Klan” by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to an address in Auburn, Indiana. The flyer also suggests sending a “small cash donation.”
A recorded outgoing message at the listed phone number say, “You’ve reached the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. For more information, leave your name and address, and we will get back to you. You may also text it. God bless, white power.”
Several hours after our call, a text message reply from the number directed us to the organization’s national headquarters in the Baltimore area.
“Just didn’t seem like something that we would be involved in, or interested in being involved in, or why would they pick us,” Peel said.
Other Franklin residents said the flyers and the message they imply make them uneasy.
“It’s uncomfortable that it’s in my town,” said Rachel Malherber. “I would say I have concern for my kids that that hatred is still there.”
“They’re not wanted around here,” said Alyssa Jones. “It’s just going to start problems.”
Johnson County Sheriff Dog Cox doesn’t believe any residents are being singled out by the KKK. He thinks the flyers are being tossed onto lawns at random, possibly from a moving vehicle.
“They’ve just recruited local folks to do their dirty work for them,” Cox said. “Just spreading hate.”
Similar flyers have been reported in other communities, including Fishers and Columbus. Flyers from the same Auburn, Indiana address have also been found in North Carolina.
Cox thinks the bird seed in the plastic bag is simply used as a weight to keep the package from blowing away.
“It’s nonsense,” Cox said. “In today’s climate our here, we don’t need this stuff. Not only Johnson County doesn’t need this, no community needs this garbage going around.”
Other than littering, Cox says no laws are being broken since the flyers are not being placed directly into mailboxes. However, he has alerted the FBI to the situation. If the group becomes more aggressive or intimidating toward anyone, it could be reported as a possible hate crime.
Cox says he appreciates residents reporting the flyers to his office. But it’s not necessary.
“What I would do with those letters is put them in the shredder or put them in the trash can where they belong,” Cox said. “Throw the notes away and make good use of the bird feed to feed God’s creatures.”