Leaders of a Ku Klux Klan faction active in Georgia have had a tough time of it lately.
Over the weekend, two leaders of the Loyal Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested in North Carolina in connection with the stabbing of third klansman prior to a victory parade celebrating the election of President-elect Donald Trump.
William Hagen, 50, a grand dragon from Orange, Calif., and another Klan leader, Chris Barker, 37, of East Yanceyville, N.C., face charges in Caswell County, N.C. According to multiple news reports, Hagen is accused of stabbing fellow Klansman Richard Dillon, 47, of Indiana, before a planned Trump victory march in North Carolina. Barker is charged with aiding and abetting in the attack.
Trump has disavowed the approval of such white supremacist groups.
The Loyal Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have been active in Georgia lately. The group is believed to be behind the distribution of leaflets condemning efforts to make public restrooms more accommodating to transgender people. Leaflets were thrown in driveways in Woodstock and Douglas County earlier this year calling transgender people “freaks” and accusing them of “jeopardizing the safety of bathrooms all across the nation.”
The same group has been in the middle a neighborhood dispute with a would-be developer in a high-priced residential neighborhood in Milton who rented his land to the Klan for weekend rallies.
In South Carolina, the Loyal White Knights were active in protests after Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of a ceremonial Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol following the shootings in the black church in Charleston in June 2015.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the KKK and other extremist groups, cheered the arrests, claiming the group was “falling apart at the seams.”
“The stabbing highlights an ongoing pattern of leadership difficulties and dissension in the ranks that have plagued LWK for months,” the SPLC reported. “Even the simple task of carrying out a highly publicized parade to celebrate President-elect Trump’s victory turned into a farce.”
In a recent report, the Anti-Defamation League said the Loyal White Knights is the most active of various KKK factions with “a fairly expansive geographical reach.” Even so, the ADL estimated its membership at 150-200, but the report said the group magnifies its influence “typically through fliering, which requires only a single participant.”
Hagen, also known as William Quigg, has been in trouble before. He was arrested in Anaheim at a “White Lives Matter” protest in February where white nationalists clashed violently with left-wing counter-demonstrators. He also gained brief national fame in March for his suspect endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Barker has an interesting history as well. He gained local notoriety for giving the FBI secretly recorded conversations with a fellow klansman who dreamed of developing a ray gun to shoot Muslims. He also reportedly was involved in flag protests at the South Carolina statehouse.