Recruitment flyers for the Ku Klux Klan were found outside more than a dozen homes and businesses in the small Northern California town of Tulelake last weekend. The flyers, which advertised the Loyal White Knights sect of the pernicious hate organization, were weighted down in rice-filled Ziploc bags and tossed into front yards, said Tony Ross, Tulelake’s police chief. They were discovered on Sunday morning.
“This is the second time that it’s occurred since I’ve been chief,” Ross told J. on Wednesday. “The last time was about 10 years ago. They threw 20, 25 of ’em into different yards in town.”
Tulelake, with a population of about 1,000, is one of California’s northernmost cities. It’s near the shore of Tule Lake in Siskiyou County, about four miles from the Oregon border.
In response to the flyers, the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific regional office in San Francisco tweeted: “The promotion of KKK bigotry in Tulelake is disturbing and offensive. We commend [police chief] Ross for investigating and Mayor Ebinger for rejecting the expression of hate.”
Tulelake Mayor Henry Ebinger distanced the city — heavily populated by military families since the 1940s — from the infamous hate group, a driving force of organized racism, antisemitism and white supremacy in America since the Civil War.
“We’re a community of veterans,” Ebinger told the local newspaper, the Herald and News. “Those were certainly not the ideals they fought, and sometimes died for, to preserve in our great nation.”
Though KKK membership has waned significantly in recent years, according to a 2016 report from the ADL’s Center on Extremism, there were “approximately 3,000 Klan members nationwide” four years ago, the ADL estimated.
The Loyal White Knights, a KKK group based in North Carolina, is “perhaps the most active Klan group in the United States,” according to the report, titled “Tattered Robes.”
The Loyal White Knights is a virulently racist and antisemitic white separatist organization.
On its internet homepage, the group mentions Jews 56 times, claiming that they control business, media and banking; are out to destroy Christianity and harbor “hatred for Christians and Christ;” that Jews killed Jesus; and that Israel has killed “way more Arab women and children” than the “supposed” 6 million who died in the Holocaust. It also includes antisemitic cartoons.
The flyers in Tulelake, first reported by the Herald and News, said “The KKK Wants You!” with a picture of a hooded klansman pointing a la Uncle Sam. They advertised a weekly call-in talk show and the web address for the Loyal White Knights.
“The radical Left,” the flyers read, “is giving Your hard earned money To countries and programs That are benefiting their Communist agenda instead Of Helping the American people Keep a roof over their heads.”
The flyers also espoused false claims made by President Trump alleging fraud in the 2020 election: “The Democrats pulled every foul trick in the book to steal this election from Trump! The Fight is not over! Ballots are still being counted!”
The flyers included a North Carolina phone number for a “24/7 Klan Hotline,” as well as a second number for what was referred to as a “Realm Of California” office, with an area code in Orange County.
Anaheim, that county’s most populous city and one that was plagued by KKK activity in the 1920s, has seen meager Klan activity in recent years. In 2016, a group of about six KKK members demonstrated at a “White Lives Matter” rally, which led to violence.
U.S. government officials have warned about rising white supremacist extremism. In October, the Department of Homeland Security released a report calling violent white supremacy the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland.”
Ross, the police chief, said he was not aware of active KKK groups in or around Tulelake.
After the first flyering years ago, the FBI became involved, but the case led nowhere, Ross said. The crime lab did not pursue fingerprints “because there wasn’t a crime,” he said, as there was no property destruction nor forced entry.
“We spent a lot of time on the last one, basically to find out there really wasn’t anything that we could do,” he said.
“To be honest with you, I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time on this one,” he added. “This was probably somebody traveling through the area, doing a little recruiting … seeing what they could get.”