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Protestors Mad MPD Would Not Let Them Near KKK

(Memphis) The Ku Klux Klan’s rally brought a much bigger presence of protesters and officers to control the crowd.

But all the safety measures had many Memphians upset and firing questions at the city.

Anti-KKK protestors spent a lot of Saturday yelling at Klansmen.

They also spent a lot of time yelling at Memphis police, claiming officers violated their first amendment rights by not allowing both groups to hear each other.

“Ask yourself, this is the first amendment so deadly, it needs to be caged like an animal? Is the first amendment so dangerous, we need lines of cops facing us?” said protester Charles Erwin.

Mayor A C Wharton says the city did everything by the book, “The constitution doesn’t give you a right to have a certain amount of people in front of you. It's freedom of speech, not freedom of hearing."

Mayor Wharton says the city had to shut down the streets and keep the two groups apart to keep everyone safe.

Wharton stressed safety was the most important thing on Saturday, especially after riots in 1998, the last time the Klan rallied in Memphis.

“These things once they explode, I don’t care how much man power you have, it’s too late to call in reinforcements,” said Wharton.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is expected to release a price tag on how much those reinforcements cost the city later this week.

At this point the city is still deciding if it will charge the KKK for the officers, barricades and buses to make sure everyone stayed safe, doubting the Klan could afford it.

“If we find out they have assets and Director Armstrong says there is something they owe, we'll go after it,” said Wharton.

At the end of the day, a lot of extra security also costs a lot of money.

There were other rallies held in protest off the KKK rally before it began.

The city hasn’t decided if those groups will be charged as well.

Filed in: News

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