Charles Michael Booth Conover, Wisconsin man goes walking along Vilas County street walking his dog while dressed in Ku Klux Klan (and drinking beer).
Charles Michael Booth, 50, was spotted Friday in Conover drinking a beer and waving at cars as he sported the KKK regalia while walking his dog.
The incident sparked outrage among neighbors, including one who took a picture of Booth and shared it in disbelief.
Vilas County Sheriff Joseph Fath told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his office received multiple calls about the man Friday evening.
Fath said that police responded and Booth told them he was ‘just taking his dog for a walk’. He added that Booth was not committing any crimes.
The man wasn’t violating any laws with his KKK regalia, Fath said.
‘I don’t anticipate any follow-up on it,’ Fath said.
‘It’s a country road,’ Fath told WJFW. ‘It’s not in anybody’s particular neighborhood. It should not have bothered anybody. I realize that that may be offensive to some people, but it’s not a crime.’
One woman said she called the incident ‘so surreal’ and said Booth just ‘politely waved’.
‘We froze,’ said the woman, who wished not to be named because she is one of Booth’s neighbors and has what she called a ‘mixed-race’ family.
‘We knew what we were looking at, but we didn’t know why. We were so in shock,’ she told the Sentinel.
According to Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, Booth was convicted of criminal damage to property in 2013 and is 50 years old. In 2006, he was convicted of second-offense OWI and disorderly conduct, court records show.
Gregory Jones, president of the Dane County NAACP, called the incident a ‘terrorist act’.
‘(Booth) intended to project what I believe to be white supremacist behaviors by wearing this garb,’ Jones said.
‘It is intended to create fear among people — even people who are not of color. (People in Vilas County) should be mindful and be willing to stand up and say this is not acceptable in our county at all,’ he added.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that in 2019 it had tracked 15 hate groups in Wisconsin. The SPLC listed white nationalist groups and neo-Nazi groups among them but not the KKK. In 2015, the site listed multiple active KKK groups in the country.
The incident in Wisconsin is not the first time that displays of KKK regalia have shocked the nation in recent weeks.
Last week, two men wearing KKK hoods tried to disrupt a Black Lives Matter protest in Nevada – but were chased off after the BLM demonstrators and pro-police counter-demonstrators joined forces to demand that they leave.
In May, a man walked into a Vons grocery store near San Diego wearing a KKK hood was the subject of a police inquiry. No charges were made in that incident.