- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

WINCHESTER, Ind. (AP) - Many residents of a small eastern Indiana city have found Ku Klux Klan recruiting leaflets dropped in their yards.

The leaflets promoting “Neighborhood Watch” left in blue plastic bags encouraged Winchester residents to call a “24-hour Klanline” to contact the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1thIQPJ ).

Winchester Mayor Steve Croyle said he suspected KKK members were “probably on a fishing trip” in the city and “rode off into the sunset” after distributing the leaflets.

The materials were found last weekend around the 5,000-person Randolph County city, which the 2010 Census found was 96 percent white.

Traditionalist Knights Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona of Missouri told the newspaper that a local KKK leader likely ordered the leafleting.

“We are always recruiting,” he said. “The Masons are recruiting, and the police departments and the churches. Any organization that wants to survive … is recruiting.”

Bryan Byers, a Ball State University criminal justice professor who studies hate crimes, said the leaflets were worded to cast the Klan as a protector of others.

“The leaflet message of ‘protecting’ the community with a ‘neighborhood watch’ is code for protecting the white residents against minority-driven criminal activity - normally from outside the community,” he said.

Rob Butler, senior pastor of Winchester’s Congregational Christian Church, said he first saw one of the leaflets after Sunday services.

Butler said he was offended by Klan members describing themselves as a non-violent Christian group.

“I don’t read the Scripture perhaps the way they do,” he said.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

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