Special to WJW
BALTIMORE — “Help us win back your rights that have been given to others,” read the KKK recruitment information fliers, neatly folded into plastic bags and weighted down with gravel. “The Jew’s [sic] are taking over and The n[—-]s are right behind them.” Other fliers came with phrenology diagrams. They were found on stoops, in the gutter, in alleyways and on sidewalks in Baltimore on Oct. 18.
“I wanted to run around and pick them all up,” said Denny Chapman, a neighborhood resident. “But part of me wants to make sure that the world sees this stuff.”
It’s the second time in at month that flyers bearing the signature of the Maryland chapter of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have been found in the neighborhood. The chapter did not respond to a request for comment.
If a Baltimore Sun report published on Oct. 18 is any indication, this incident is not out of the ordinary.
Maryland law enforcement agencies received 398 reports of hate or bias in 2017, a 35 percent increase of the previous year — the highest level in the state since 2007, the Sun reported.
The report also noted that Jews were the second-most-likely group to be targeted in hate-related incidents, after
“I didn’t even need that report to tell me what we hear via the community all time,” said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “It’s clear there’s been a spike in bias crimes across the nation, and it’s clear that Maryland is not an exception, and neither is Virginia or D.C.”
It is difficult to know whether the level fluctuates based on the number of actual incidents, people’s willingness to report them or a combination of the two. And of the total, not every incident can be verified by the police — in fact, 52 percent were classified by police as “inconclusive.” It’s also not clear how many state law enforcement agencies underreport their bias-related incidents.
But those factors are countered by a study by the Department of Justice, which concluded that the FBI’s nationwide tally of hate-crimes — 6,121 in 2016 — was approximately 140,000 incidents short of the actual number.
“While it is difficult to attribute the rise to any one factor,” said Doron F. Ezickson, Washington regional director of Anti-Defamation League,”it is eminently clear that haters are feeling empowered and are acting on their hate with increasing frequency in our schools, on campus, in neighborhoods and online. We continue to encourage reporting by the public of all hate incidents which enables authorities to be aware of activities and address the risk they pose.”
A police investigation into the incident is underway, according to Baltimore police.