KKK members pulled guns on pro-LGBTQ protesters and Kentucky cops let them go: police docs

KKK members pulled guns on pro-LGBTQ protesters and Kentucky cops let them go: police docs
Image via screengrab.
AlterNet Exclusives

Two purported Ku Klux Klan members allegedly terrorized a pro-LGBTQ rally in Kentucky, and one pulled a handgun on protesters — but law enforcement officers on the scene did not arrest them, according to local police documents obtained by Raw Story through an open records request.

One of the men who pulled a KKK card from his wallet, identified in the police report as 44-year-old Kenneth W. Hutton, had recently worked for the city government in Corbin, Ky., a local official confirmed Thursday.

“He quit about a month ago,” Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams told Raw Story on Thursday.

The new information reveals how dangerous the June 3 rally had become and supports assertions by attendees that the dramatic scene in a small town with a history marked by racism and bigotry could have turned deadly.

It also coincides with numerous protests nationwide by neo-Nazis, Proud Boys and other far-right groups against LGBTQ Americans and drag shows, as well as a rash of anti-trans rhetoric in right-wing media and legislative efforts to restrict the rights of trans people.

A Corbin Police Department “call for service” report obtained by Raw Story offers a minute-by-minute account of the developments on June 3.

“Male has gun out,” a police log entry at 2:21 p.m. states.

“Ruger 9mm,” says the 2:27 p.m. entry, followed by “Smith and Wesson” one minute later — references to the brand of guns.

“Both males that were there with weapons are 98,” the 2:46 p.m. entry reads — the “98” referring to the dispatch code for clearing the scene.

The report identifies Hutton’s companion as Clayton D. Segebart, 43. Segebart and Hutton both live in London, a neighboring city that is the county seat of Laurel County, according to the police report.

Hutton and Segebart could not be reached for this story.

A representative of the Corbin Police Department who answered the phone on Thursday said no one was immediately available to comment.

The Times-Tribune, a local newspaper, reported that the Corbin Police Department posted a notice on Facebook earlier this week indicating that it had referred the incident to the FBI. As of Thursday night, the post was no longer on the Facebook page.

‘Rip your f---ing face off’

Three LGBTQ activists told the Times-Tribune that they planned the peaceful protest at Sanders Park on June 3 to protest anti-trans legislation pending in the Kentucky legislature, and about seven people stood at the entrance to the park holding up signs supporting the LGBTQ community.

Video posted by AJay Anderson, one of the organizers, shows LGBTQ supporters chanting, “Human rights, gay rights,” as one of the supporters argues with one of the men who showed up to harass the protesters.

The video then shows a second man off to side — identified in a police report as Hutton — reach into his wallet and pull out a card.

Hutton then hands the card to the man engaged in the argument, who is identified in the police report as Segebart.

“I want to rip your f---ing face off and shove it up your f---ing ass,” Segebart says to the LGBTQ supporter, flipping the card around to display it.

A voice offscreen can be heard yelling, “He’s got a KKK card!”

“I want to rip your f---ing face off and shove it up your f---ing ass,” Segebart says to the LGBTQ supporter, flipping the card around to display it.

A voice offscreen can be heard yelling, “He’s got a KKK card!”

After another person told Segebart to leave, he can be seen pulling the gun from his hip and waving it in front of himself.

Corbin police soon arrived on the scene.

Trent Osborne, another organizer, told Queer KY that the officers took the men’s guns and emptied the bullets from their chambers. They then returned the guns to the owners after escorting them to their vehicles.

After escorting the self-identified Klansmen from the scene, Corbin police then told the LGBTQ supporters to leave the park because they had not obtained a permit, according to a Corbin police log obtained by Raw Story.

This had the practical effect of allowing the two self-identified Ku Klux Klan members to shut down the protest through their intimidation and harassment.

LGBTQ supporters vow to return

Hutton worked for 13 months, from April 2022 to May 2023, in the Corbin Public Works Department, and received a salary of $22,880, according to city records.

It remains unknown what city government position Hutton held and which department he worked. The Corbin city manager did not respond to a follow-up question.

Hutton last year ran — unsuccessfully — for district constable in Laurel County, Ky., according to The Sentinel Echo.

In a candidate questionnaire published in The Sentinel Echo, Hutton identified himself as a member of West Knox Volunteer Fire and Rescue in Corbin.

A phone message to the volunteer fire service inquiring about Hutton’s membership went unreturned.

Since the June 3 incident, flyers attributed to the Trinity White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have turned up in the streets of Corbin, a city of 7,856 in southeastern Kentucky.

Corbin holds a troubled history of racist violence, dating back more than 100 years. In 1919, a white mob forced about 200 Black residents to leave town on a freight train, and for decades, Corbin was known as a “sundown town” where Black people were not welcome after dark.

Flyers representing the Klan group have also turned up in three other Kentucky communities — Mt. Sterling, Paris and Winchester — over the past two weeks, according to a news report.

The Trinity White Knights flyers echo the language of a broader anti-trans campaign throughout the nation, which has taken hold among entities ranging from neo-Nazis to the Republican Party mainstream.

“Parents take control of our schools,” the KKK flyers demand. “Remove all filth from school libraries. Two gender policies. End the presence of men in the girlsroom.”

The flyers end with a clear recruitment pitch: “Parents take your stand. Join the Klan.”

Extremism researchers have raised concerns that far-right harassment and violence would surge this month, with Pride celebrations taking place across the country. The Pride celebrations, timed to mark the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, last throughout June.

LGBTQ supporters in Kentucky have refused to be cowed by the Klan intimidation, and have announced a “Human Rights Peaceful Protest & March” in Corbin on June 24.

Their message: “Hate has no place here or anywhere!”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional information about Hutton's employment with the city of Corbin.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}
@2023 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.