By Jenna Lyons
The Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyer that sparked outrage in San Francisco’s Haight neighborhood this week was legitimate, a Klan official said Thursday, adding that the organization had recently received a surge in interest amid police shootings and protests.
On Tuesday, neighborhood news outlet Hoodline posted a picture of the flyer, which was reportedly being distributed around Haight and Clayton and Oak and Lyon streets.
Will Quigg, grand dragon of the KKK’s West Coast region, said the picture showed one of the pamphlets that members tend to leave in driveways. “Our organization is actively recruiting in all of California and all of the United States,” Quigg said. “We’re getting a lot more calls, especially in the last few months with what Obama’s doing, what Hillary’s doing and especially Black Lives Matter calling for war and saying they’re trying to kill all whites.”
The recruitment flyer stated “Black Lives Matter Black Panthers are telling followers to kill white people and police officers in the name of justice for the killing of Negro’s by policemen in the line of duty. These Negro’s were not innocent, they were thugs breaking the law, and standing up against police.”
It appeared the message was meant to incite fear of the Black Lives Matter movement, capitalizing on rising racial tensions since last week’s killings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the slayings of five police officers in Dallas.
San Francisco NAACP President Amos Brown said the country’s strained race relations was not a result of Black Lives Matter but instead came from the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. “Donald Trump ought to be ashamed of himself,” Brown said. “He is the one — out of his self-centered interest — who has created this climate.” Brown said the KKK flyers were not surprising given the current atmosphere. “It’s time, as one theologian said, that people stop their silence,” Brown said. “Silence does give consent to evil, and the Ku Klux Klan is evil. The Klan took a sacred symbol of Christianity to terrorize black people. The terror of the Klan emerged in Pulaski, Tenn., to disenfranchise blacks and to keep them from having equality of opportunity, justice and equality.”
Quigg, however, insists the organization is a “new Klan” that doesn’t condone violence and only passively recruits by leaving flyers in neighborhoods. “We do not go knocking on people’s doors. We don’t do that type of recruitment because we don’t want to make any people feel uneasy or scared because they do not understand we are a new Klan,” he said. “We are a white, Christian, nonviolent civil rights organization.”
Jenna Lyons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @JennaJourno