Neal Augenstein, WTOP, February 12, 2018
The discovery of Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers through Loudoun County over the weekend has the sheriff and Board of Supervisors chair expressing disgust at the hateful message, looking for clues to who distributed them, and seeking to soothe concerned residents.
“The KKK is, of course, a domestic terrorist organization,” Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall told WTOP. “Whether the threat is perceived or real, this is frightening people.”
Police and prosecutors have acknowledged the difficulty in prosecuting cases similar to this, because of the protection of free speech.
“If people feel at imminent risk, and feel scared in their own homes, I don’t believe anyone has that right,” Randall said. “The Klan is a terrorist organization of murderers, rapists and cowards.”
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said his agency has a full-time detective working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Chapman acknowledges there are few options for a local prosecution if investigators are able to determine who is leaving the propaganda. “Even a prosecution for littering could be tough.”
“That’d be up to the FBI to see if there’s some sort of hate crime or domestic terrorism,” he said.
“Loudoun County is a very, very diverse county, and we are welcoming of all races, colors, faiths, and people,” she said. “This kind of division is just not acceptable, not tolerated, and is not welcome.”