Pittsburgh Police are investigating fliers found in Squirrel Hill this weekend that advertise a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. The papers espoused racism, anti-Semitism and information on how to join the group.
But pressing charges could be difficult, says Bill Crowley, a criminal justice professor at La Roche college and former FBI special agent. In an interview with WESA last month, he said the First Amendment protects beliefs, even if they are hateful.
“And it makes it a real challenge for law enforcement because they’re trying to determine when [do] those words turn into actions, and specifically when those actions turn to hate,” said Crowley.
He said inciting violence, however, is not protected.
“You’re trying to determine if someone has a propensity for violence, and how specific it is,” he said.
Public Safety spokesperson Chris Togneri said the department is trying to figure out who left the fliers and if there are related threats of violence.
This isn’t the first time fliers like these have been found in Pittsburgh. White nationalist fliers were found in the South Hills on Election Day last month.
In 2017, a self-described neo-Nazi was arrested for putting up anti-Semitic fliers in Squirrel Hill because it was a violation of his parole.