KKK Lawsuit Persuades Arnold to Allow Flyers on Vehicles
The American Civil Liberties Union has issued an injunction on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan that Arnold allow the placement of advertisements on vehicles in spite of the city's law banning the practice.
Arnold shoppers may find Ku Klux Klan literature on their car windshields as soon as this weekend, and the group will not be penalized for the practice.
An Arnold law dating back to 1975 bans the placement of advertisements on vehicles and imposes penalties against offenders, said Arnold City Attorney Bob Sweeney. It was enacted to address littering and to protect private property.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—on behalf of the KKK—has served the city an injunction requesting that it rescind the ordinance to allow KKK members to place literature on vehicles without penalty, Sweeney said.
"Do we want to challenge the action, which could result in a lawsuit?" Sweeney asked the city council at its meeting Thursday night. "Or do we inform the ACLU that we do not intend to enforce the law until we can amend it?"
The KKK recently took the city of Cape Girardeau to federal court over the same issue, and the court ruled in favor of the KKK, saying that the city's law was unconstitutional, Sweeney explained.
The lawsuit claimed that Cape Girardeau's law prohibiting flyers on vehicles was a violation of the group's right to free speech under the First Amendment, according to a Sept. 27 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In an effort to avoid a similar lawsuit against Arnold, the council on Thursday agreed that the city would not enforce its law against KKK members until the measure can be amended.
Prior to that decision, Ward 4 Councilman Ken Moss asked if the council could consider the action at a later meeting.
Sweeney said the decision could not be postponed because the injunction goes into effect Monday. He added that's he's been advised that KKK members were planning to place flyers on vehicles within the next few days, which could mean as soon as this weekend.