Martinsville Police responds to KKK event flyer

Residents of a Martinsville neighborhood found these flyers in their yard. (WTHR/Rich Van Wyk)

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - Someone scattered Ku Klux Klan flyers through a Martinsville neighborhood and police are trying to find the people responsible.

Some residents are shocked, others are scared.

The KKK recruitment flyers, folded inside sandwich bags and weighted down with small rocks, were found Sunday. They littered driveways, sidewalks and lawns in neighborhoods near the downtown area.

"We found these bags lying all over our neighbor's yard and down there," Anthony Greeno said, pointing down the street.

Greeno and Jesscia Millhoff thought it was trash. They opened the plastic bags and found something worse.

"For something to show up like this and to show up here is a disgrace," Greeno said. "This promotes hatred."

The flyers promote a "white Martinsville" and a Klan crime watch meeting to be held at a local home.

"With this town having a racial history, I've always heard the rumors, but I thought I would never see this in this neighborhood," Millhoff said.

They picked up a few of the bags. There were still a couple in driveways down the block.

Martinsville police learned about the flyers on Facebook. They had pictures, but not an exact location or actual flyers. Eyewitness News called them and within minutes an officer was gathering the evidence.

The owner of the home where the KKK was supposedly meeting called police. Chief Roger Wiltermood said the man insisted he knew nothing about the meeting and didn't want any part of it and asked that the social media posts be taken down.

"The only thing we can figure is somebody is doing a hoax at this time, a bad ex-boyfriend/girlfriend situation," Wiltermood said.

For years, Martinsville has worked to promote diversity and inclusiveness. The KKK flyers concern businesses owners and residents.

Quinten Terrell grew up in Martinsville. He's co-owner of a sporting goods and uniform store on the town square. He remembered how he felt the moment he heard about the flyers.

"A small fear of going back to the past and the way outsiders will think of the town," Terrell said.

Now that police have the actual flyers and the plastic bags, they are hoping to find fingerprints and other clues that could lead them to a suspect.

About ten years ago, Martinsville Police arrested a man caught distributing Klan flyers. He was charged with littering. A judge found him not guilty. The man later sued the city and prosecutor, claiming they violated his right to free speech.

The Martinsville Police Department said it "will continue to monitor this situation and take any appropriate action needed to ensure public safety."

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