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US Vilas County man seen walking dog in KKK robe and hood

23:26  16 june  2020
23:26  16 june  2020 Source:   jsonline.com

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MADISON - A man wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe was seen Friday evening walking his dog and waving at traffic in Vilas County in northern Wisconsin.

Charles Michael Booth, 50, of Conover was “out walking his dog, wearing a Ku Klux Klan shirt, drinking a beer and waving at the traffic” near Monheim Road and Highway K in Conover Friday evening, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Department. 

A widely shared image of a person in a white and green robe and hood began circulating on Facebook Saturday. The image shows a man in a KKK-style outfit standing on the side of the road with a black dog. The person’s back is toward the camera.  

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Vilas County Sheriff Joseph Fath told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his office received multiple calls about the man Friday evening. Fath said police made contact with the man in the photograph and confirmed it was Booth. 

Fath said Booth told police he was “just taking his dog for a walk.” He added that there was “no traffic problem” at the time and that Booth was not committing any crimes. 

“I don’t anticipate any follow-up on it,” Fath said.

The incident comes after weeks of protest in Wisconsin and across the globe in response to the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police. Last week, an aide to Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen of Menomonee Falls claimed on Facebook he "wasn't even aware" the KKK existed.

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One woman told the Journal Sentinel that she and her husband saw Booth walking his dog while in the KKK outfit Friday evening. She called the event “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.” 

A call log from the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department shows other calls about the incident were made Saturday, and an employee at Conover’s Energy Mart gas station requested extra patrol in the area “due to people's concerns about Charles Booth.”

Gregory Jones, president of the Dane County NAACP, called the incident a "terrorist act" and warned people in Vilas County to be watchful.

"(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."

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Court records show Booth has a history of misdemeanor traffic violations and was found guilty in 2013 of criminal damage to property.  

Booth did not respond to a request for comment. 

a man standing on top of a dirt road: Charles Michael Booth, 50, of Conover was photographed walking his dog and wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood in Vilas County. © Submitted Charles Michael Booth, 50, of Conover was photographed walking his dog and wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood in Vilas County.

Allison Garfield of the Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.

Contact Lawrence Andrea at landrea@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @lawrencegandrea

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vilas County man seen walking dog in KKK robe and hood

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