KKK event in the region this weekend recalls large response to 1996 rally in Middletown

Published: Friday, May 24, 2019 @ 10:14 AM

ODOT workers placed concrete barriers around Courthouse Square ahead of the KKK rally this weekend.

Police and community prepared a response to a 1996 KKK rally in Middletown large enough that law enforcement outnumbered those attending the rally nearly 3 to 1.

The incident is brought to mind this week ahead of a planned rally in Dayton on Saturday. Some downtown streets have planned to close as security is put into place.

Similar preparation was done for the May 18, 1996, when about 300 officers from 17 agencies were on hand for the rally at Middletown’s City Centre Plaza, according to the Journal-News archives.

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“Our plan was designed to prevent an incident ... we were successful,” then-Middletown Police Chief Bill Becker said on that day, admitting the rally had racked up tremendous expenses for Middletown and the 17 agencies that provided officers.

Middletown police officers met the 15 KKK members at Miami River Park on North Verity Parkway and escorted the five cars and a truck into town.

READ MORE: Dayton mayor asks public to stay out of downtown during KKK rally

Despite some cursing, gesturing and shouting, there were no arrests, and the only casualties of the rally were a Klan member who was briefly overcome by heat but refused treatment, and the soles of Becker’s shoes, which melted from the heat on the roof of the command center at the Ed Rusk Center.