The city of Dayton has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana group that plans to hold a rally on Dayton’s Courthouse Square in May. City officials say the Honorable Sacred Knights is a paramilitary group and the rally they are planning is in violation of Ohio’s constitution.
Last month, Montgomery County, which oversees Courthouse Square, granted the KKK-affiliated group permission to rally on May 25.
Following Wednesday morning’s city commission meeting, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the city will do what’s possible to stop the group from bringing a message of hate into the city.
“We will not allow ourselves to be threatened by this group or their message of hate,” Whaley says. “The city condemns any attempt to divide our community and intimidate our neighbors.”
The suit was filed on Wednesday in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, so it’s unclear how soon any decision could come down.
In the meantime, Whaley says the city wants to meet with any groups planning to counterprotest, in order to decide on a unified front.
“Should we be unsuccessful in the lawsuit, you know, it’s still good for us to celebrate unity and we don't celebrate that if we have 12 different groups doing 12 different actions,” Whaley says. “We celebrate it if we all can all come together, and I think that that can be done. We'll see next week.”
Just last week, a coalition of groups gathered at a church in Northwest Dayton to plan a counter-protest to the Knights’ rally.
The public meeting established by city officials is scheduled for 7 p.m., March 20 at Grace United Methodist Church on Harvard Blvd. in Dayton.