MPD holds emergency meeting to discuss potential KKK rally
MEMPHIS, TN -(WMC-TV) - The Memphis Police Department held an emergency meeting to lay out some of the guidelines for what the Ku Klux Klan promises to be the largest rally Memphis has ever seen.
The KKK applied for a permit to host its rally in the Bluff City on March 30.
The biggest issue with the rally appears to be the signature Klan hoods and robes that have been worn throughout the years by the KKK.
"This is a unique situation," said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.
Tennessee allows concealed weapons, but you cannot conceal your weapon and your identity at the same time.
"I have to know who you are. If you're armed, I have to know who you are," said Armstrong.
Director Armstrong held a closed door meeting with city leaders to address rising concerns over the permit request filed by the KKK to hold a rally at 140 Adams Avenue, which is where the old Shelby County Courthouse sits.
"Certainly, I cannot allow people to walk around this city with mask or concealing their identity even if you have a handgun carrying permit because I have no way of knowing who you are," explained Armstrong.
Director Armstrong anticipates the need for massive police presence.
"I have reached out and will continue to reach out to some of our local municipalities enlisting their help as far as personnel and equipment," he continued.
With police overtime, equipment and manpower, unconfirmed reports buzzing inside city hall purport the cost for law enforcement could reach as high as $1 million in tax dollars.
The police director said he has no set amount.
"More concerned about public safety than any dollar amount you can put to this," he said.
Armstrong will continue discussions with the KKK.
One council member gave an example that organizers of big events, like Memphis in May or the St. Jude Marathon, pay for protection.
It would be the same in this case.
It would be bad. Here's what happened last time they came to town. Late 90s.