Early Friday morning, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Glen Road South in the City of Rome for reports of Ku Klux Klan flyers being distributed to homeowners.
Deputies say residents reported finding weighted Ziploc bags containing printed information about the United Northern & Southern Knights of the KKK.
The investigation indicates the weighted Ziploc bags were left at the end of multiple driveways sometimes between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.
Sheriff Rob Maciol issued the following statement:
“I would like to say that I find the KKK an organization that encourages hatred and bigotry and I don’t condone this organization or anything it stands for. I believe in unity and tolerance. The KKK is against all of those things. However with that said, I have taken an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of all citizens, which however repulsive includes the KKK. The leaving of these flyers and soliciting people to join the KKK is their right. I am very sensitive to those in the community that just the mention of the KKK causes anxiety and anger, but the US Constitution protects their right to free speech. If the actions of this group turns to soliciting people to commit violent acts, or they cross the line and break the law, the Sheriff’s Office will not hesitate to file criminal charges against them.”
“While President Trump and Republicans in Washington sow divisiveness and hate that is spreading like a cancer across the country, in New York we say not here, not now, not ever,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I have directed State Police to investigate the appalling distribution of KKK material in several counties and send a clear message that New York has zero tolerance for intolerance. Today more than ever, New York must fight against hate crimes and stand as a beacon of equality and diversity.”
Anyone having information regarding this investigation, whether personnel contact with an individual or individuals, suspicious vehicles, or home security images is asked to contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office at (315) 736-0141.
All calls will remain confidential.
The Sheriff’s Office has been working with Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police, the Rome Police, and the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center regarding this incident.