Memphis will be allowing the Ku Klux Klan to march next month in protest of recently removed Confederate names from city parks, reports
the city's CBS affiliate.
The move that will likely become increasingly controversial as the day of protest nears was OK'd by Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, himself a black man. "Obviously, being an African-American man, it's something I wish I didn't have to do," he explained. "But I took an oath to serve and protect, and I did not take an oath that I would protect certain groups of people."
But while signing off on the event is simple enough, gearing up for it won't be. City police will be taking a refresher course in dealing with riots, as the last KKK march through Memphis took place back in 1998. And while the damage inflicted on the city in that march was mostly taken up by anti-KKK protesters, not the KKK itself, it matters little from a crowd control perspective.
"We have known from the beginning that denying this application would result in a legal fight on constitutionality," stated City Attorney Herman Morris. " We have all, however, been very attune to the critical role the Memphis Police Department will play in a proposed demonstration."