Alabama Police Call It an ‘Honor’ to Protect the KKK at LGBTQ Pride March

The Ku Klux Klan (aka. the KKK), the terrorist white supremacist group that has existed in America since immediately after the Civil War, protested a pride event on Sunday in Florence, Alabama, a city of 40,215 people in the state’s northwest corner.

In two separate Facebook posts published during the event, the Florence Alabama Police Department (FAPD) said it was their “duty and honor to provide security and ensure the safety of both groups” and used the hashtag #DefendersOfTheConfederateCross, a reference to people who support the confederate flag.

Approximately 400 LGBTQ people and allies attended the Equality March for Unity and Pride on Sunday, an event which marked the city’s first-ever pride commemoration. It was organized by Equality Shoals, the area’s newly formed LGBTQ organization, and was intended as a sister march for the Equality March happening at the same time in Washington D.C..

Here is footage of the march:

According to Equality Shoals, about 10 to 12 KKK members protested the march at its starting and ending point at Wilson Park in downtown Florence. Some of the KKK members wore Klan robes, insignias and brought a KKK flag, a Christian flag and a Saint Patrick’s Saltire flag (a white flag with a red diagonal cross denoting Irish nationalism).

Though the FAPD monitored the KKK presence and noted no violence or arrests, their Facebook posts published during the event have raised some eyebrows.

The first post used a hashtag that seemingly referred to the KKK as “Defenders of the Confederate Cross,” an apparent reference to the confederate flag, the battle flag flown by the southern pro-slavery states during the Civil War .

pride

While some supporters of the Confederate flag argue that the flag symbolizes “heritage, not hate,” a recent historical study by The Washington Post determined that the flag largely came back during the 1960s Civil Rights era through use by white supremacists who flew it as a symbol of their opposition to racial integration and black civil rights.

Will Cross, a member of the Equality Shoals board of directors, said, “I don’t think there should be an equivalence [by police between LGBTQ pride marchers and the KKK] there because we paid and got permits and hired police officers, and they just kind of showed up trying to scare people.”

It is unclear whether the KKK applied for a protest permit at the park.

  • Elizabeth Flanagan

    I sincerely doubt that it was “Saint Patrick’s Saltire” (which isn’t generally used as a symbol of Irish nationalism) but rather the Alabama state flag. Like, the Klan using an Alabama state flag makes much more sense then them using one of the historical flags of a country none of them have probably even been to.

  • William

    Yes. Definitely the flag of the great state of Alabama, the post by the police clearly gave the “equality” march the 1st reference, so this article is basically null & void for sheer lack of substance and/or reality. Smh

  • IndianaEdwards

    the sound of Alabama being dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

  • cactuspie

    Duty I can understand. It’s their job. But honor to defend the KKK? Plus that racist screed of a post? The FAPD sound like ignorant troglodytes who need a time out in Gitmo.

  • cactuspie

    Tying your horse to mentioning the name of the event both groups were attending means absolutely nothing. Talk about sheer lack of substance and/or reality. Take a look in the mirror.

  • Cpt_Justice

    This is misleading. They actually said it was “an honor to uphold the Constitution”. However, their “Confederate Cross” hashtag was way wrong.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    That flag is a symbol of mass treason and pro-slavery.
    I put it in the same category as the Nazi Swastika flag.
    Why anyone would want to associate themselves with it, and why it is allowed to fly at all is beyond me.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    This is what happens when racists exercise their so called, “1st Amendment rights.”

    thestranger D O T C O M /news/2017/06/14/25216539/go-back-to-the-zoo-how-evergreen-state-college-became-a-target-for-right-wing-trolls

  • Fox Haven

    Um except their actual post, screenshot above, says exactly that. Maybe read the article or at least look at the pretty pictures before posting.

  • Jamie Poston-Benford

    Uh, that is the Alabama state flag not St Patrick’s saltire flag.

  • mike wallace

    some of those that are in office are the ones who burn crosses. Lyrics from Prophets of Rage, Killing In The Name Of

  • fifthdentist

    I agree. This is kind of weak tea. As a Southerner with a TG girlfriend, this provides some optics issues. But at the end of the day, the PD protected the marchers instead of looking the other way while the marchers were beaten by the KKK. Or even join in on a beating or lynching or two.
    Like Selma or Phullidelphia, Miss.
    Baby steps.
    I certainly hope people message the chief about this and point out their concerns. Even a flood of polite complaints. But living here, I recognize that some people seriously are down with this as a “heritage” issue. Even though I also realize that impression largely comes from an erroneous view/learning of history.

  • Cpt_Justice

    Um, I *did* read the actual post THAT’S WHY I SAID WHAT I DID.

  • DevilsAdvocate

    It WOULD be rather odd if it was a symbol of Irish nationalism – so far as I know the KKK have historically been anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant.

  • DevilsAdvocate

    I suppose I just take comfort from the fact that there was no violence, and that the department itself seems proud of that fact.

  • Elizabeth Flanagan

    No argument there. Just clarification that the Klan was most likely flying a flag that looks similar to an Irish historical flag but isn’t.

  • drnoise

    If I’m reading this correctly they’re saying it was an honor to protect all of their citizens during the event. Not just the KKK. I think this story is misleading. I want the KKK to disappear as much as the next person, but I don’t think the Alabama police here are stating it was an honor to protect the shitty racists. Just that it was an honor to serve and protect everyone involved. Regardless of whether or not they were shitty people.

  • HS

    This article is nonsense. That’s not what the police meant. Stop peddling this sort of divisive anti-police crap.

  • Shoalanda Hutton

    Some errors in the article: 1) Population of Florence is overstated by a few hundred. 2) The St. Andrew’s Cross is the Alabama state flag; very few Irish live in the area. 3) While there may have been no such marches in the past, there have been gatherings, candle light vigils, etc. 4) While I can’t be sure of who wrote the FB post, I know the person who writes most of them, and he’s no racist. Must have been a slow news day, huh?

  • Shoalanda Hutton

    Absolutely! It’s the St. Andrew’s cross, not St. Patrick’s. Ten times as many Scots in Alabama as Irish!

  • Shoalanda Hutton

    That part of the article referred to the Alabama state flag – a St. Andrew’s Cross. The battle flag of the Confederacy also incorporates a St. Andrew’s Cross, but please don’t confuse the two.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    If it looks like a duck…