The distribution of some unwanted flyers in Van Buren County led to a public forum on hate crimes.
The flyers included information from a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan from southeast Missouri.
Sheriff Dan Tedrow says they were found in about a half-dozen communities in recent weeks.
He says as residents found them, they called his office expressing concerns and anger.
The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service hosted a forum in Keosauqua in response to the flyers to promote communication and collaboration between law enforcement and residents.
The agency works with communities to employ strategies to prevent and respond to alleged violent hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
Nick Klinefeldt is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.
He says distributing the flyers is not illegal.
“It becomes illegal if they are inciting illegal activity,” says Klinefeldt. “That could include violence. It could also include intimidating people into not doing things they are federally entitled to do.”
The forum focused on what a hate crime is and how it is investigated.
Reverend Goldy Laymon is the pastor at several churches in Van Buren County.
She says she attended the forum so she could update her congregation about the incidents.
Laymon says some of them lived through the heyday of the KKK, so they are worried about what could happen.
Klinefeldt says he is aware of some KKK literature being distributed in Henry County as well, just not to the degree as it was in Van Buren County.