Klan rally carrying a hefty price tag for taxpayers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Klan rally carrying a hefty price tag for taxpayers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The city of Memphis is preparing for Saturday afternoon's Ku Klux Klan rally. The city granted a permit to the Klan for a gathering on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse. The hate group's appearance in Memphis could end up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Chief Administrative Officer George Little told FOX13 News in an e-mail, $200,000 isn't out of the question, but that's an estimate at the high-end.

Police Director Toney Armstrong isn't putting out any cost estimates ahead of the event. But, the Memphis Police Department has been getting prepared.

There are two Blue Crush police surveillance cameras at the intersections across from the county courthouse  and police officers have been going through crowd control training to prepare for the event.

The city approved a permit for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to hold their rally on the courthouse steps from 1:30-4 p.m., on Saturday.

The police director says the department will be ready for anything, but that type of security comes at a cost.

Some city council members wanted to force the Klan to pay those costs rather than city taxpayers.

 "For me I'm just shaking my head, some things, you just can't find the words to talk about them, you know, it could be that we could have assessed a hundred thousand dollar fee on them," says Councilman Harold Collins.

When the Director Armstrong announced the permit approval in February, he said the city might try to charge the Klansmen for some costs, but there are questions about whether that's even possible.

City officials are asking city residents to ignore this event. They don't want people counter-protesting and they don't want any violence.       

Director Armstrong said his department will be watching everyone in that area closely and they'll be moving in at the first sign of trouble.

The department will be announcing street closures later this week.

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