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Fort Plain PD fears "vigilante justice" and won't ID man charged with distributing KKK fliers

February 16, 2017 05:54 PM

Fort Plain -- Police say a white man, in his mid-thirties, is the one who has been leaving print-out asking people to jointhe Ku Klux Klan on the windshields of cars throughout the village this past week.  Usually when an arrest is announced, the accused offender's name is as well but not in this case.

"I understand that, I agree with that...should be protection for that," believes Village resident Tina Lawyer.

The man is a father and works in the village.  And, according to Interim Police Chief Ryan Austin, he's not releasing the name - an unusual move for law enforcement - in the interest of safety for the children and adults around the man.

When asked if the Chief was concerned that someone might feel that he was protecting the suspect, Austin responded, "i'm not protecting him.  I'm looking out for all people.

The content of the fliers are not criminal - they don't make threats or use hate speech.  But he does face a $250 violation fine for soliciting or peddling pamphlets without a permit.

"The village residents are extremely upset, rightfully so, it's am emotionally charged incident," maintains Austin.

The Chief added that the man is not part of a hate group and did it to "stir the pot" on social media.

"It shouldn't be going on today...we are all the same, we are all equal," believes Lawyer.

The only recent instances, across the Capital Region, when an arrestee is not named is when it's a parent arrested for sex abuse and naming the person might identify the victim.

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Abigail Bleck

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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