Ohio city, Ku Klux Klan group agree on rules for May rally

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A Ku Klux Klan group and an Ohio city have agreed on rules for a rally planned this month.

The city of Dayton filed a lawsuit in March against the Madison, Indiana-based Honorable Sacred Knights citing danger to the community if the group held a paramilitary-type rally May 25.

Dayton’s city attorney, Barbara Doseck, on Monday announced a court-approved consent decree settling that lawsuit. The agreement prevents the group from wearing paramilitary or tactical gear and carrying assault rifles, bats or shields. The group’s members also won’t carry flame throwers or knives. They can carry certain firearms with permits and cover their faces.

“The city’s primary goal is keeping our residents safe while this rally occurs,” Doseck said at a news conference. “The agreement does not mean that we accept their hateful views or that their presence is supported by our leadership, our community or our residents.”

The group wrote in an email Monday that it has never worn tactical gear or used flame throwers and has never acted or dressed in paramilitary fashion.

“The only ‘weapons’ we will have are side arms,” the group wrote.

The email said they have a constitutional right to carry side arms and that they can wear masks in Ohio as long as a crime is not being committed.

“We never asked for anything except for the right to assemble peacefully and the right to free speech,” the group wrote.

Doseck said that, under the consent decree, the group won’t “incite any violence against our residents or solicit violence during this rally.”

Only those associated with the group will be allowed on the rally site at Courthouse Square, and Dayton police will be on hand to control their entrance and exit from the site, Doseck said. Police may shut down the rally immediately if members fail to comply with the terms of the consent decree, she said.

Some members of the community have said they plan to gather across the street from the rally in a counterdemonstration.