CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Parkersburg resident Jim Sallie was shocked and disturbed when he unrolled a few papers thrown on his property early Saturday.
The papers were recruitment fliers from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The pastor of the Redeemer church said he saw another flier on his neighbor's property and promptly threw it away.
"I was letting my dog out ... and I saw what someone had left me," Sallie said. "When I figured out what it was, I was taken aback. I was rather surprised to find that here in Parkersburg, the town I grew up in."
But it wasn't just Sallie and his neighbor who received the fliers. Sallie said another neighbor saw several other fliers in that neighborhood, spreading thin toward the end of the street.
Detective Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department said the fliers do not appear to be from a local organized effort. He said numerous papers were discovered in Parkersburg and Vienna.
"We're guessing someone may have come off the Interstate and made a trip the long way around and went back on the Interstate," he said.
Collins said although people may find the fliers offensive, they are not illegal. However, he said police will continue to monitor the situation because of the nature of the group.
"The only possibility is a violation of minor city ordinances about the placement of fliers," he said, noting even this may not have been violated. "The concern for us is it's a very notorious hate group. So, we want to make sure they do stay within the guidelines of the law."
"We want to monitor and make sure nothing illegal is associated with this," Collins later said. "It would be foolish for us to disregard it because of the group and its reputation. We definitely want to stay on top of it and monitor it as closely as we can."
Collins said there were two different types of recruitment letters. He said he can't remember an exact date for when something like this last occurred but said he did know of a minor incident years ago.
The Klan recently had scheduled a rally in Gettysburg National Military Park, but had to cancel because of the partial federal government shutdown. However, local and national media reported that four members decided to hold their own event downtown on Oct. 5 instead.
Sallie took issue with the full message of the flier and particularly, how the group represented itself as a Christian organization.
After receiving the flier, he took to his church's Facebook account, saying he was disturbed about the message. He said the group "misquote(d) the Bible to promote their agenda." Sallie said he didn't want people to think the fliers promoted a Christian message.
"It is disturbing that this group is still around and still promoting these concepts," he said. "In a deeper way, it is disturbing to me that they would hold or claim to hold Biblical ideals," he said.
Collins said he understands the public's concerns but tells people not to take matters into their own hands.
"We understand obviously, the reactions that these posters can get and we would ask people not to act violently or in violation of the law if they see people putting posters out," he said. "If there has been a violation, let us investigate and handle it in the right way."