A Palm Beach County man appears to be recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan with a KKK flag, noose and “Members Wanted” sign prominently displayed in the front yard of his trailer home.
The man, who did not give his name, spoke briefly to reporters outside his home in western Boca Raton as he took down the flag Tuesday night. He said he has every right to fly the flag as part of his freedom of speech.
“What message are you sending to the community?” a reporter asked him.
“I’m not sending any message,” the man said. “The same thing when the Puerto Rican flies his flag. He’s proud of his heritage. I’m proud of mine.”
Neighbors, however, say the flag sends a message of hatred, violence and racism.
“I think it’s horrible,” said Roseanne Areces. “I think it’s disgusting and I think it should be taken down.”
The man does not seem to have any intention of removing the flag. Reporters also asked him about the homemade “Members Wanted” sign.
“Are you recruiting members for the KKK?” a reporter asked. “Where does it say that?” the man replied. “There’s a sign right here that says, Members Wanted,” a reporter said. “Yeah but it doesn’t say for what, does it?” the man responded.
The noose hangs prominently in the front yard, contrasted with the word “love” sitting in the front window. The man said the noose is there “because I don’t have a big tree in the backyard to hang it from.”
Margaret Martin lives across the street. She says she is one of the only African-Americans in the neighborhood and that these images are a reminder of a dark time. She fears for her safety.
“I’m worried,” she said. “Is he gonna burn a cross on my yard? You gotta be sick to do something like that. Or you want attention.”
The flag, sign and noose are getting attention but not the kind most people want in this neighborhood. Martin says she has never spoken to the man flying the flag but she has compassion for him.
“I’m a Christian,” she said. “I pray for people. I’m gonna pray real hard for him.”
Martin said code enforcement came to the neighborhood in unincorporated Boca Raton and determined that the man has every right to fly the flag.