KKK fliers distributed by man from Gloversville

Identity not released; charged with peddling without permit

FORT PLAIN — A Gloversville man has been charged after he distributed Ku Klux Klan fliers in village around Valentine’s Day.

Village Police Interim Chief Ryan Austin said the man, whose name is not being released for his own safety, was charged with peddling without a permit.

The fliers, which featured a heart design, included a phone number, website address and Klan imagery.

“The fliers that were distributed do not represent the village residents here in Fort Plain,” Austin said.

Austin said there were no grounds to charge the man with the content of the fliers, since they did not include any specific threats of violence. Austin said that although he does not agree with the message in the flier, he still has a duty as an officer of the law to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

“While I understand it is upsetting, it is not illegal,” Austin said. “It is protected by the First Amendment. There is no specific threat, there is no indication he is advocating to attack anybody.”

Austin said that in the village, someone must apply for a permit before distributing any type of flier or pamphlet. These items must be approved by the village police department and includes things such as door-to-door salesmen fliers or energy fliers.

“I spoke with the village attorney and it was determined [the man] was soliciting without a permit,” Austin said. Austin said that during a police interview he conducted, the man said his sole purpose “was to stir the pot and get a reaction on Facebook.”

Austin said the man is not a member of the Klan.

The man allegedly left the fliers in Gloversville as well. Austin said, to his knowledge, there were no reports of the fliers in Gloversville.

“He was in the area I believe,” Austin said of the man’s decision to leave the fliers in the village.

Austin said that Fort Plain is a fairly diverse community, whose residents are hard-working people. He said in his years on the force, he has not come across anybody who would be involved in a hate group.

“I’ve been here almost seven years, I’ve never once come across a village resident that would give me an indication that they are involved in a group such as this,” Austin said.

Austin said the man has been advised that village residents are very upset with his actions.

“They are not happy with this at all, and I don’t blame them. I understand the content of the fliers is extremely upsetting. I can sympathize with that,” Austin said.

The man was given a ticket for Minden Town Court on a later date.

Austin said if anyone finds any fliers in the future, they should contact their local police agency to report them.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.