Armstrong: MPD Ready to Protect KKK at Memphis Rally

Armstrong: MPD Ready to Protect KKK at Memphis Rally

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is not OK with the KKK and what it stands for. Nevertheless, he says if the Klan rallies in Memphis, his officers will protect them.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis' top cop has more to say about the KKK. Police Director Toney Armstrong opened up to ABC 24 News about the possibility of the Klan marching on Memphis.

Armstrong is not OK with the KKK and what it stands for. Nevertheless, he says if the Klan rallies in Memphis, his officers will protect them.

"It's 2013 and as an African-American director I am interviewing about the KKK marching in this city," he said. "It's so disheartening. This is something I wish wouldn't happen."

The fact his officers will have to protect and serve the white supremacy group is also disheartening.

"90 percent of police work is things you find undesirable and things you certainly wish it was not your responsibility to do, and certainly this ranks way up there at the top of it."

The KKK is coming to Memphis because its members are upset about the city's decision to rename Forrest Park.

"They have the right to voice their opinions and they have a right to freedom of speech like any other citizens. That's one of the flaws of liberties and freedoms."

Forrest Park was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

"It's just so sad that's how our city has to be represented."

Something else Armstrong finds sad is the attention the KKK is getting during Black History Month.

"Instead of sitting here talking about the accomplishments and great things African-Americans have done to contribute to the betterment of the world as a whole, we're sitting here talking about the KKK."

In 1998, the last time the KKK held a rally in Memphis, Armstrong was an undercover officer tasked to protect the group. He has concerns about any future marches.

"This time around it has the potential of being more volatile," he said. "I think this group representing the KKK made their intentions known to go armed during this demonstration, which concerns us greatly."

The date and location for the rally hasn't been determined. Armstrong promises whenever it's held, his department will be ready.

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