Police are investigating a spate of flyers recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan that were anonymously posted around downtown Astoria late last week.
Reports started coming in Friday of flyers pasted on the sides of buildings. They depict a klansman in full regalia and the message, “The KKK Wants You!” Along the bottom are pull tabs with a hyperlink to a server page on Discord, a voice and text chat website and mobile application.
The server page is called North West Realm. One of its administrators, "ashjoe13," wrote on a message board that “I might be attracted to the Klan, but I am not looking to start a chapter of the Klan."
“We might be racist, but we are not violent in the least," he wrote. "Our goal is to help the common American man, and for that, we need him on our side. We don’t accomplish this by either killing blacks, or like antifa, rioting and blocking streets.”
The user also criticizes alternative lifestyles and the "gay lobby."
Eric Halverson, deputy chief of the Astoria Police Department, said police are trying to figure out who posted the messages. But he said that the only crime committed so far is a violation of a city ordinance requiring property owner permission to post flyers.
Police spoke with the Clatsop County District Attorney’s Office about possible first- or second-degree intimidation charges related to a hate crime, but the flyers don’t meet the standard, Halverson said.
“It’s one of these things that can be a freedom of speech issue, depending on what it leads to,” he said.
David McAfee, co-owner of A Gypsy’s Whimsy Herbal Apothecary, found one of the flyers posted on his storefront. A child of the 1960s, the flyer reminded McAfee of the racism he witnessed growing up.
“It’s obvious that it’s still alive,” he said. “Racism is still alive and well in America.”