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Klan Leader: Milford Fliers Meant To Deter Crime

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A member of the Ku Klux Klan displays a ring with the confederate flag. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A member of the Ku Klux Klan displays a ring with the confederate flag. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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MILFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Fliers left in Milford by the United Klans of America this week were meant to deter criminals who have been breaking into cars in town, the leader of the white supremacist group said as officials condemned the move.

Members of the group are worried about the safety of Milford’s neighborhoods, Bradley Jenkins, imperial wizard of the Alabama-based group, which is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, said Tuesday.

Residents of the north end of town found the fliers on their driveways and lawns Monday. The fliers read, “Neighborhood Watch: You can sleep well tonight knowing the UKA is awake.”

Mayor Benjamin Blake condemned the fliers, saying the town doesn’t tolerate hate groups. Blake and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy planned a news conference for Wednesday afternoon at Milford City Hall to denounce the distribution of the fliers.

Police are investigating and seeking witnesses who saw people distributing the fliers.

“It’s a pathetic little attempt to get some press and some attention for his very, very weak group,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and hate groups.

But Potok said it’s good for political leaders to condemn such moves.

Jenkins became “something of a joke on the Klan scene” after aligning himself with a black street gang against another Klan group protesting in Memphis in the spring, Potok said. The center does consider UKA a hate group, he said.

Jenkins’ group was created last year and is not the original United Klans of America, which was responsible for much of the violence during the civil rights movement but was destroyed by a lawsuit by the poverty center in the mid-1980s, Potok said. He said there are nearly 30 Klan groups in the United States with at most 5,000 members, compared with some 4 million in the 1920s.

He said there has been violence by individual Klan members from time to time in recent years.

“There’s certainly violence from Klansmen out there but it’s not endemic in the way that it was in former iterations of the Klan,” Potok said.

A message left Wednesday for Jenkins wasn’t immediately returned.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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