Ku Klux Klan flag taken down after angering Florida neighborhood

A West Boca Raton resident was flying a Ku Klux Klan flag at his trailer home
CBS News

WEST BOCA RATON Fla. - A Ku Klux Klan flag that had flying in front of a West Boca Raton trailer home and that had infuriated neighbors has been taken down, CBS Miami reports.

The man who had raised the flag will replace it with a Confederate flag, his wife, Marla Curly, said.

Curly said that her husband, who refused to give his name, put up the flag "because he's a boob." She also said that flying the flag was "ignorant and offensive" and that he would substitute a confederate flag because "he's a rebel without a cause."

"I'm apologizing for him," she said.

She said that she did not believe in what the Klan stood for, but that her husband did. She had earlier urged him to tell people why he "loves to be a white man."

And to her mother, who stopped by begging them to end the neighborhood controversy, she said, "Apologize to who? The blacks and the Puerto Ricans? Just because he took the flag down doesn't mean he feels any different. He still feels the way he feels."

One neighbor, Susan Wantz, shouted, "What's wrong with you people? I've been here for 32 years. You don't belong here. Tan America! You're a pig. There's not room in America for racism and people like you. If you don't like it in this neighborhood, get out."

But another neighbor, Bianca Barresi, said, "I'm not racist, they are, but they're really good people," said neighbor Bianca Barresi.

In addition to the Klan flag, a sign saying "Members Wanted" is in the yard and a noose hangs in the front yard. The man would not say what he was recruiting members for; the noose was in the front yard because he didn't "have a big tree in the backyard to hang it from."

On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League and the ACLU both defended the man's First Amendment right to display the flag.

"However, the Anti-Defamation League strongly condemns the display of the Ku Klux Klan flag coupled with the noose, which is akin to the swastika with respect to the Jewish community in the fearful emotions it evokes within the African-American community," said Hava Holzhauer, the ADL's Florida regional director. "While the display is likely legal, these symbols are highly offensive, hurtful and a haunting reminder of the Ku Klux Klan's history of violence, terrorism, and lynchings of African Americans."

The ACLU noted that the First Amendment protected people's right to express themselves on their own property even in ways that were offensive and abhorrent.

"We don't believe the answer to ugly expression is less speech, but rather more speech: hopefully others in the community will use this moment as an opportunity to exercise their own First Amendment rights and express messages of tolerance and equality," it said.