Casey Urges Department of Justice to Monitor Situation Closely

Casey Urges Department of Justice to Monitor Situation Closely

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to closely monitor the situation in Wilkes-Barre after recruitment efforts were made by the East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire, a Ku Klux Klan associated group that has recently been distributing fliers. Casey pushed Attorney General Lynch to take steps to ensure that the communities in Wilkes-Barre remain safe while this fringe group is active in the area.

“Our laws and Constitution generally protect people’s right to assemble and speak as they please, even if that speech contains ideas repugnant to the American values of civility and equality,” Senator Casey wrote. “The East Coast Knights are entitled to those protections. Yet, as tragedies like the recent shooting in South Carolina illustrate, intolerance can lead to violence. I urge you to mobilize Department of Justice resources to take proactive steps to keep safe the communities in Wilkes-Barre.”

The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

I write to bring to your attention to the recruitment efforts of a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The KKK is an extremist group that preaches hate and intolerance, and I urge the Department of Justice to work with local law enforcement to monitor the activities of this group and take any necessary steps to keep the community safe and prevent illegal intimidation.

In August, the East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire distributed recruitment fliers around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This group openly associates itself with the KKK, and the fliers direct readers to its website where there is an image of a hooded Klansman pointing out with the caption, “The KKK Wants You!” The website tries to distinguish the group from the violent history of the KKK, but a similarly hateful ethos still clearly exists. One of the group’s stated goals is to stop interracial relationships, because “the mixing of the Race has been forbidden by God since the beginning of time.”

Local residents were reportedly frightened to find fliers emblazoned with the KKK’s charged symbol on their driveways and porches, and concerned about the group’s presence in their communities.

Our laws and Constitution generally protect people’s right to assemble and speak as they please, even if that speech contains ideas repugnant to the American values of civility and equality. The East Coast Knights are entitled to those protections. Yet, as tragedies like the recent shooting in South Carolina illustrate, intolerance can lead to violence. I urge you to mobilize Department of Justice resources to take proactive steps to keep safe the communities in Wilkes-Barre.

It is important that fringe groups like the East Coast Knights know they are being watched, and that ordinary Pennsylvanians subjected to unwanted attention by such groups feel the protective presence of law enforcement. I appreciate your timely attention to this matter, and look forward to working with you to keep our communities safe.

Sincerely,                            

Robert P. Casey, Jr.                                                    

United States Senator

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