Residents of Whittier asked their local police department to label the distribution of Ku Klux Klan propaganda fliers on Sunday morning a hate crime. The fliers were packaged with a rock, a Tootsie Roll candy, and a phone number and mailing address for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
One flier vilified Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush for his stance on immigration, another targeted Barack Obama for his race, and a third listed and statistics about “black” and “Hispanic” crime trends.
On Monday, Matt Berkelhammer of the Whittier Area Peace and Justice Coalition, flanked by representatives of the Whittier Latino Coalition and Whittier Voters Coalition at a press conference at Whittier’s City Hall, stated, “We don’t want the incitements contained in the fliers to be a prelude to violence in Whittier. We must act now to show that such incidents are not welcome in our community. This is serious and should be treated as a criminal matter. We demand the Whittier police approach this as a hate crime.”
Louis Reyes, spokesman for the Whittier Latino Coalition, added, “We believe this is no different than a swastika being delivered to the home of a Jewish person.”
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper said he couldn’t accommodate the request, pointing out, “It’s not targeted to a particular group of people or make threats upon them. I would surmise that some of these hate groups that have been around have attorneys and know how far they can push it. Regardless of that, it’s unfortunate and despicable.”
Similar incidents have occurred in Orange County: Klan fliers left in Old Towne Orange in November 2013; plastic bags with fliers found in Orange last July, KKK fliers distributed in Santa Ana last January, and more plastic bags with KKK material found in Fullerton last week.