Local police and the FBI have launched an investigation after KKK recruitment fliers targeting Martin Luther King Jr. were distributed in a Virginia town, west of Washington D.C., ahead of Monday’s public holiday honoring the civil rights leader’s legacy.
The first report came in shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, when flyers were found outside of a house on the 700 block of Aurora Court NE in Leesburg. Leesburg police said those flyers contained “propaganda material,” reported Washington ABC affiliate WJLA.
In Round Hill, a resident reported seeing flyers, which were being held down by hard candy on a running trail, around 12 p.m. Saturday near Smith Creek Circle and Scotland Heights Road.
Another resident saw a KKK flyer around 4 p.m. near her mailbox, in the 35000 block of Round Knoll Court, also in Round Hill, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
In another part of town, resident Bishop Shawn Stephens told NBC’s News4 he was in his drive Friday night when a woman threw a bag from the window of a car containing the leaflets.
“How can this be in 2018? How can this really be our reality at this stage of life? This is America, the land of the free,” Stephens said.
“I believe Martin Luther King Jr. would be heartbroken,” he told the outlet. “He was impactful for every group out there. He fought for them. And he was a fair gentleman. And he was a gentleman that loved all people.”
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said are working with the Leesburg and Purcellville police departments, as well as with the FBI, to determine the origin of the fliers, according to NBC News.
The FBI has recorded a sharp uptick in hate crimes since Donald Trump’s election, with the figure up by 5 percent in 2016, according to the latest figures from the agency released last November.