Local leaders speak out about KKK fliers found in Battle Ground

The fliers were found in the Tippecanoe County town this past weekend.

Posted: May 20, 2020 4:41 PM
Updated: May 20, 2020 6:29 PM

BATTLE GROUND, Ind. (WLFI) - Several Indiana leaders have spoken up about KKK fliers that were distributed in Battle Ground over the weekend.

As we previously reported, nothing can be done about this incident because Indiana's hate crime law does not cover speech. Republican State Senator Ron Alting and Democratic State Representative Chris Campbell both released statements denouncing the act. Showing that there is bi-partisan support against white supremacy in Indiana.

News 18 reached out to Indiana District 7 Senator Brian Buchanan Monday afternoon when originally reporting on this incident. A statement was sent to us Tuesday evening. The statement in its entirety is below.

Indiana District 25 Representative Don Lehe sent us a statement Wednesday afternoon. It can be also be found below.

Candidates running for Sen. Buchanan's and Rep. Lehe's positions, Tabitha Bartley and Alex Sabol, have both released statements.

Below are all the statements News 18 as received from various legislators and candidates as of Wednesday afternoon.

State Representative Don Lehe, (R) District 25:

"This tactic is disgusting, and the people of Battle Ground reject all attempts to spread hate and fear. Racism has no place in our community or anywhere, and it certainly does not reflect the values of those in Tippecanoe County."

State Senator Brian Buchanan, (R) District 7:

"I am aware of the recent activity in Battle Ground. It is extremely disappointing to see this type of behavior. Hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and racism have no place in our society. I firmly believe this is the result of a few bad actors who do not represent the majority of Hoosiers and I stand with our community in denouncing this hateful propaganda."

State Representative Chris Campbell, (D) District 26:

"The Ku Klux Klan is known as America's leading hate group for a reason: years of racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, religious bigotry and violence," Campbell said."I join our community leaders of all backgrounds in unequivocally condemning this ideology. Efforts to try to incite hatred will not work here. The people of this community reject any attempt to spread fear. Hate has no home in this region. Now is the time to show the rest of Indiana our strength through unity. We are all stronger together and we are not afraid.
This latest example of racism, antisemitism and bigotry is another reminder of the importance of a comprehensive hate crimes bill. Indiana is one of four states that doesn't have one yet. I hope that events taking place last week and in January will encourage the Indiana General Assembly to put aside our differences to make sure all Hoosiers are safe."

State Senator Ron Alting, (R) District 22:

"I'm incredibly disappointed to see this kind of message being shared in our community. But then I remind myself these are just a few bad apples and that there are thousands of people in Tippecanoe County who firmly believe we are all equal and that no person should be discriminated against or persecuted because of their race, religion, creed, sexual orientation or anything else. I encourage my fellow Hoosiers to continue to stand up for their neighbors and to stomp out the bigotry the KKK stands for."

Tabitha Bartley, Democratic candidate for Senate District 7:

“Let me be blunt. If you are a white supremacist or a member of the KKK you are a terrorist. You are the most dangerous threat to America. I will not stand by and allow this type of behavior and as a white person I need to do more and everyone who looks like me needs to do more to protect our community. This is a threat and a hate crime and needs to be handled accordingly and we need people in positions of power across the entire state that will fight to make sure real change happens. If this doesn't make you angry, you are part of the problem.”

Alex Sabol, Democratic candidate for House District 25:

"The KKK, white supremacy, and hate are a dangerous threat to our community and state that cannot be ignored. The fact that this happened in a district that I would represent and just minutes from my own home has it hit even harder. Saying nothing, doing nothing, and pretending like there is nothing wrong, perpetuates the hate. Just last year, our district's representative said he was skeptical about whether Indiana needs a bias crimes bill.
We need to use this incident and the others like it to make bold changes. I vow to work to pass comprehensive hate crime legislation to protect every person in Indiana - no matter color, creed, religion, gender identity, or country of origin. Everyone in this state deserves a Big Future."

Laura Fred-Smith, Democratic candidate for Senate District 18:

"In the past few days, my District has also seen a resurgence of The KKK, and we should take this for what it is: an intended hate crime against others. The United States benefits from all cultures -- not just a small few -- and Hoosiers coming from communities of color should feel protected in their neighborhoods while having the same opportunities as their white peers. It is time for our leaders inside the General Assembly stand up these hate groups by saying Indiana does not stand for or do business with organizations that prioritize division, hatred, and intolerance. Silence is no longer an acceptable answer anymore."

This story will be updated should more legislators or candidates choose to give statements on the incident.

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