City councilmembers in Huntington Beach, California, have passed two new resolutions against racism after flyers promoting a group called the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) were deposited on lawns in the city over Easter weekend.
The flyers showed a white-hooded figure, had the group’s name printed on them, and contained text similar to that on the group’s website regarding its ideology. The flyers also had the words “White Lives Matter,” printed on them, prompting a link between them and social media advertisements for a White Lives Matter rally in Huntington Beach April 11.
It remains unclear, however, who is behind both the flyers and the rally organization. The rally flyers do not reference the Loyal White Knights and the KKK flyers did not specifically mention the rally.
Huntington Beach Police Lt. Brian Smith confirmed the reports about the flyers, but told The Epoch Times he did not have any information regarding the responsible party.
Similar flyers were found in Newport Beach a week prior. Newport Beach Councilman Will O’Neill wrote on Instagram and confirmed with The Epoch Times via email that an L.A. County man who “lives out of his van” was found responsible for the KKK flyers, but not charged because they qualify as protected speech.
Newport Beach police said the incident is being investigated and they cannot comment on it. “We have not released any information on a suspect,” spokesperson Heather Rangel told The Epoch Times via email.
Regarding the upcoming rally, Smith said via email, “We became aware of the planned rally from community members who advised us of the social media posting regarding it.” He said the police have “additional staffing and contingencies plans in place.”
A counter-protest by Black Lives Matter for April 11 has also been advertised via social media.
At an April 5 Huntington Beach City Council meeting, two resolutions in reaction to these events passed with a 6-0 vote.
Councilwoman Natalie Moser said at the meeting: “On Easter Sunday, people had bags thrown onto their lawns with KKK information. I don’t even know what I would do if one of my kids found that. It’s horrible.
“Now, do we know that the people who did that are from here? We do not know that, but we know that they felt reasonably welcome to come here and we don’t want that to be the case.”
Mayor Kim Carr and Councilman Dan Kalmick proposed one of the two resolutions, which “denounces hate crimes, xenophobic rhetoric, racism and harassment against AAPIs [American Asian Pacific Islanders] and other minority communities.”
It directs the Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force, working with the police, to publish data summaries of reported hate crimes online quarterly and issue recommendations to city council “for responding to race-based hate crimes.”
Kalmick proposed the other resolution, which has the city “denounce any and all acts of White Supremacy, which promote fear and division within our community … [and] remain vigilant against future movements the [sic] promote white supremacist sentiments in our community.”
Councilman Erik Peterson was the only councilmember who did not vote in favor of the resolutions; he abstained.
Peterson said that, while it is “disgusting” when people engage in “vile speech, … part of this society is letting those people spew their crap on both sides. But if they get out of control and break our laws, our police need to come down hard on them and that’s why we have the laws in place.
“We have laws. We have police to enforce those laws. We have prosecutors and judges to ensure criminals receive punishment. Of course, we denounce hate. We denounce hate crimes. That’s why we have laws against them. I trust our police,” he said. “I just can’t vote for something that doesn’t do anything; or just vote for something because it feels good to do so.”
Councilman Mike Posey interjected: “As elected officials and community leaders, we are supposed to take charge, we are supposed to take a position and we’re supposed to draw a line in the sand. And declarations that have a little bit of teeth in them are worthwhile endeavors.”
Kalmick said, “We’re just saying that we as a city find it all unacceptable, and that is the policy of the City of Huntington Beach. We don’t want you here.”
The council also moved to co-sponsor a virtual event on April 18 with Orange County Human Relations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.