It seems that even a community named as one of the top 10 most diverse cities in the country is not immune to racist propaganda.
Last Thursday, May 31, the fliers appeared in or near the driveways of about 50 homes in the quiet Germantown neighborhood, a single family home community which lies almost hidden, north of I-270, and near Germantown Road.
The fliers were placed inside plastic bags filled with birdseed to stop them from flying away with the wind.
The flier begins, “God Commands Racial Segregation! From the beginning, the parchments have forbidden mongrelization (race mixing), multiculturalism, and racial integration and it goes on to list a number of misconstrued and bastardized biblical passages while attributing racial overtones to the quotes.
The one sheet of racist propaganda concluded with “This message from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and contained a phone number to join the Klan, which was (336) area code serves most of north-western North Carolina. The flier also had a phone number to join a conference call which would serve as a sort of private radio show, called LWK Radio Mondays.
“It has happened before in Montgomery County,” said 5th District Police Commander Mark Plazinski, “I don’t know if it has ever happened in Germantown. These fliers are hateful, and it is hard to believe that in 2018 people would think that Montgomery County is a good place to recruit members to the Klan. I really have a hard time reconciling that.”
Plazinski said the 5th District received a few calls regarding the packets on Thursday and investigators collected a few as evidence.
This is the second racist propaganda to be found on Montgomery County lawns in as many weeks. Last week, residents of the Kentlands in Gaithersburg were alarmed by a note circulating the community titled, “White Genocide is Real.”
According to Gaithersburg City Police, the notes were left on multiple doors and windshields over the weekend. The letter states that by 2040, “white people will be a minority in a country founded by our ancestors.” The note continues by stating, “If we don’t put an end to this now and reverse our own replacement the future of our children, our brothers, our sisters, and our spouses will be widdled down to nothing.”
“I spoke to Commander Patil from the 6th District,” said Plazinski, regarding the fliers found in the Kentlands neighborhood last week. They have different filers, but they definitely have a similar flare to them.”
It seems the last week in May marked some sort of recruiting push for the Klan. As it was reported on Friday that similar packets with a leaflet and birdseed were found in at least 30 driveways Frederick County, MD, and in Winchester in Frederick County, Va.
The Washington Post reported that the KKK fliers in Frederick County, Md, had been placed inside clear plastic bags that were weighed down with birdseed and left on residents’ driveways on Thursday, May 31.
In Virginia, the Winchester Police Department reported that on Tuesday, May 29, “Winchester Police Department has received reports of KKK flyers being found in the city. Multiple flyers, contained in plastic bags with bird seed, were found on the campus of Shenandoah University and at numerous businesses” in Winchester.
“If it is going out everywhere, it might be a coordinated effort, at this point we don’t know,” said Plazinski.
The leaflet found in Germantown seemed to be focused on mixed-race or biracial families.
Cheryl Booth, a resident of the community, is part of one such family. She told the Germantown Pulse that she found out about the leaflets through a neighborhood email chain. She says that she is doubly concerned because of the 50 or so homes in the community, there is only two mixed-race black/white couples, and a packet was not left at those two residences.
“Once I read it and saw that it specifically referenced interracial relationships,” said Booth, “and I didn’t get one I thought, ‘Oh my God, do they know that my family is biracial. And is that why we didn’t get one? Who put these out that they knew not to put one at my house?’
“I walked around the neighborhood, and I found that there was another family that did not get one of these packets and that it was another biracial family, where one member is black, and the other is white,” said Booth. “We feel, that whoever dropped the fliers in our neighborhood knew which two houses out of 50 were the black/white biracial couple in the neighborhood. There is another black family in the neighborhood, and they did get one, but they are not ‘inter-mixing,’” said Booth.
Another member of the second biracial family spoke to the Pulse but did not wish to give her name, said she was more than a bit concerned. “It concerns us because one of the quotes on the flier from Leviticus 20:15-16, it speaks about killing those who mix races. I see that, personally, as a threat to my husband and me. I see that as a physical threat.”
The quote she is referring to on the leaflet inserts the N-word in parenthesis to create the racial undertone.
“We have notified the proper people investigative groups inside of our organization,” said Plazinski. “We will share it with other agencies and our community engagement division has been made aware of it.”
Part of the problem that law enforcement officials face is that the distribution of such propaganda is not on its face illegal.
“Commander Patil and I are talking about what possible charges we can make if we are able to apprehend the person. He’s got video in his case, and I am hoping that when our investigator gets out in the neighborhood that somebody else will have one of those Ring-type doorbell systems or surveillance system in their yard where we can determine if it is the same person or not.”
Plazinski said that some of the charges being discussed are littering charges, and the County has a hand-bill statue, which mainly applies to putting handbills on cars, but that might also be applicable in the Gaithersburg case. “There is no spreading hate propaganda charge. However, the act of putting trash down on someone’s yard is a crime. I can’t just put trash in your yard or on your car without your permission. However, there are certain parameters in the law that the crime has to meet,” said Plazinski.
“Unfortunately, this has happened in the past in Montgomery County,” said Plazinski. “It is not a common crime. The position of the Police Department and the 5th District is that this is unacceptable. Even if it is what they are doing — the distribution is within the law — we know it is hurtful to many people in our community. We frown upon it and would like it to end and not be occurring at all. If there is a way we can charge them with a criminal charge, we will do so.”
Both of the residents the Germantown Pulse spoke to had never experienced racism like this in Germantown. The resident who wished to remain anonymous said, “Never. I am 52 years old, and I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life. I have never even been called the N-word.”
Booth added that she was the only white person in the Black Student Union at the University of Maryland. “I have seen lots of racism related stuff, but I have never felt so threatened in Germantown.”
The packet of a piece of propaganda inside of a bag with birdseed has become a type of recruiting tool for the KKK over the past few years. Similar fliers were distributed around the country back in September, October, and April.
“The best way I can explain it is that this is akin to a pedophile grooming a child,” said Booth. “They are putting these out there as feelers to see who it is within this diverse community that they can turn — that they can recruit. They are hoping to find someone that is disenfranchised enough to blame their ills on people of other races.”
“The main message that I want people to hear is that we have to be vigilant. There are some folks who may feel that it was just trash and we can ignore it. While it seems harmless that there was just birdseed in the bag with a note, but we have to remember the evil that the KKK has done in the past. We run the risk of those evils returning if we do not acknowledge that those evils existed. We must let them know that it is not OK and we are not going to accept it, and we are not going to let is it slide, no matter if it is just a littering charge,” said Booth.
“We have some challenges in Germantown,” said Plazinski. “I don’t think racism is a big one and I don’t think Klan recruitment is something that the residents of Germantown and the UpCounty will tolerate. That is just not who we are.”
NOTE: This article was has been altered after initial publishing by the Germantown Pulse, after requests to protect the community from becoming a target of further incidents.
Top: File photo.
Next: The KKK recruiting packet, a racist leaflet and birdseed inside of a plastic bag, which was left at about 50 driveways in one section of Germantown on Thursday, May 31.
Photo provided to Germantown Pulse.