Klan Group Leaves Courthouse Square, No Major Incidents Reported
Note: this is a developing story. Please check back to this page for updates.
Saturday, 3:30pm: Members of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana have vacated Courthouse Square. Protestors are dispersing from both Main and Third Streets.
Saturday, 1:30pm: Speakers, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley have begun at MacIntosh Park to a crowd of approximately 200 people including Dayton City Commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph and Dayton School Board member Mohamed Al-Hamdani. Meanwhile at Courthouse Square protestors, including Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild, have turn their backs on the square and are singing and chanting.
Saturday, 1:00pm: Nine members of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana have entered a fenced in area in front of the Courthouse Square fountain as protestors chant slogans including “Black Lives Matter.”
At the Dayton Unit NAACP-sponsored event in MacIntosh Park, there's block party vibe with live music playing to a crowd of around 200 among a heavy police presence. Individuals dressed in camouflage are walking around the park but don’t appear to be armed.
Saturday, 12:30pm: Protestors carrying flags associated with the Democractic Socialists of America and other groups have arrived on Main Street across from Courthouse Square in anticipation of the arrival of the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana. There's a heavy police presence throughout downtown Dayton including law enforcement drones and helicopters monitoring the air space above the square.
Hundreds of counter-protesters are expected to demonstrate in downtown Dayton during Saturday’s Ku Klux Klan rally in Courthouse Square, and many downtown Dayton businesses will be closed.
Crews began blockading streets near Courthouse Square beginning Thursday. Most closures are expected to remain in effect until Sunday, May 26.
Matthew Sliver owns a marketing agency overlooking Courthouse Square and says he’s concerned about the impact street closures on his agency’s bottom line.
“Nobody wants to be told that you can’t operate. How do you expect to run a business if you can’t have access to your office that you pay thousands of dollars a month to operate out of?”
Also closed is the Dayton Metro Library. It will serve as a temporary bus depot in place of Wright Stop Plaza. Officials say the transit hub will be closed from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.
Dayton officials continue to urge residents to avoid downtown this weekend.
On Friday, Mayor Nan Whaley released a statement saying the Dayton Police and Fire Departments are working with national public safety experts to maintain public safety. Whaley condemned the group in a video earlier this week, "“There are many ways to show this opposition, but for public safety we are encouraging people to avoid downtown during the rally on May 25."
Officials have been preparing for this since February, when the so-called Honorable Sacred Knights were granted permission to demonstrate in Dayton’s Courthouse Square. They’ve agreed not to carry assault weapons, bats or shields. But they will be permitted to wear masks and carry legal sidearms.
Fewer than 20 members of the group are expected to attend the rally. They’ll likely be exponentially outnumbered by counterprotesters. A large police presence is expected.