Tulsa authorities: expenses justified for Klan rally

Friday, October 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tulsa authorities said almost $30,000 spent in preparation for a Ku Klux Klan rally last week was worth it because it allowed them to gather needed intelligence on Klansmen.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office and Tulsa Police Department were criticized by some for the expenses on manpower, training and equipment to secure the event Sept. 30.

``From the moment the Klan put us on notice that they were coming, we began to identify the principal players,'' Sheriff's Capt. George Haralson said.

The Indiana-based American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan came to Tulsa to recruit for a new ``realm'' recently formed in Collinsville.

A Klansman calling himself ``Justice Thompson'' had identified himself as ``Mr. Sportage'' in documents submitted to authorities.

Both names are among 16 aliases the 49-year-old Osage County man has been known to use, Haralson said. Authorities said the man is head of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Oklahoma.

``I set to work at finding everything I could about this guy,'' Haralson said.

The man, who lives near Skiatook, moved to the area seven years ago after being released from federal prison, where he served time for drug-related charges, he said.

Haralson said the man had maintained a low profile since moving to the area. Investigators performed a ``threat assessment'' to learn what they could about the members of the American Knights to avoid problems at the rally, he said.

There were no violent incidents, but police documented it on film just in case.

One man was arrested for an outstanding warrant on a misdemeanor traffic offense, authorities said.

The man's name surfaced during the intelligence-gathering process, authorities said.