Neighbor of man flying KKK flag says he isn't 'true member'

Published On: Mar 05 2014 10:20:50 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 05 2014 11:00:00 PM EST

A neighbor of a west Boca Raton man who flies his Ku Klux Klan flag and has a members wanted sign outside his home says he has no authority to speak on behalf of the organization.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -

A neighbor of the west Boca Raton man who is flying a Ku Klux Klan flag in his yard claims he is an actual member, unlike the man who told Local 10 he is "looking to recruit more members."

The neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the man who simply goes by the name of Mr. Hayes is just a wannabe and not a true member of the KKK.

"He wants to be, but he is not at true member," the man told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

Like Hayes, the man flies a KKK flag outside his home, although it's a little subtler. However, the KKK sign in his yard -- "Warning: Mess With the Klan and the Results Will Be Ugly!!! Knight of the Ku Klux Klan" -- isn't.

The man said he posted the sign a year ago after his home was burglarized twice, and he hasn't had a problem since then.

But he claims Hayes is not a KKK recruiter as it states on his card, has no authority to speak on behalf of the organization and is sending the wrong message.

"I don't share any type of hate beliefs whatsoever," he said. "We're all about trying to preserve what's left of this white race, and that's all."

The man admits he doesn't support interracial or gay marriage but said that doesn't mean he hates other races or homosexuals. He said he's reported Hayes to the national KKK organization in Arkansas.

Hayes stayed away from his Sandalwood Boulevard trailer for most of Wednesday, but the controversial opinions he shared with Local 10 a day earlier still resonate in the neighborhood.

His KKK flag, members wanted sign and the hanging noose are the talk of the neighborhood, prompting lively conversation about the fine line between free speech and hate.

Hayes' decision to make his private views public has also caught the attention of the Florida Anti-Defamation League, which condemns his views.

"It's obviously a hate symbol," Robert Tannen, associate director of the Boca Raton-based group, told Local 10.

Tannen supports Hayes' right to free speech but wants his audience to clearly understand the message.

"It doesn't represent a nationality," Tannen said. "It doesn't represent a religion. It simply represents hate, bigotry and, in fact, intimidation to the neighborhood that surrounds where this gentleman lives."

Still, Hayes said he doesn't condone violence and is merely displaying his flag.

 "I don't make interracial slurs at people," Hayes said. "I don't give them the finger. I don't drop my pants, any of that. I just sit out front and do my thing."

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