MPD preparing for Ku Klux Klan rally - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD preparing for Ku Klux Klan rally

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MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is not afraid.

"Concerned?" said Armstrong. "Yes."

He spoke Friday about a Ku Klux Klan rally the group promises will be their largest ever in Memphis.

"A lot of them are expected to have Tennessee handgun carry permits, so that will be an obstacle we'll have to come up with a creative plan to get over," said Armstrong.

Armstrong is formulating a plan of action after hearing the Klan officially applied for a permit to gather in response to the recent re-naming of three city parks, including Forrest Park. That is where confederate general and original grand wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest is buried.

However, Armstrong said the Klan actually wants to rally at 140 Adams downtown on Saturday, March 30.  That's the address of the old Shelby County Courthouse which sits across the street from the site of Forrest's so-called "early home."

"I've reached out to the Shelby County Sheriff's department," said Armstrong.  "They'll be on board with us. There are other agencies I'll be reaching out to enlist their help."

Armstrong himself was injured during a Klan rally in the late 90s.  He said he expects counter-protestors this time but hopes for as uneventful an event as possible.

"A great day for us is to be prepared for the worst and to have us sitting around and twiddling our thumbs," said Armstrong.  "That would be a great day for us."

Personally, Armstrong said he disagrees with the Klan rally but they have as much right to demonstrate as anyone else.

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