LAHOMA, Okla. – The mayor of a small Oklahoma town is speaking out after her husband was reportedly involved in a “Halloween prank” involving Ku Klux Klan robes.
Saturday night in Lahoma, a woman called police after she saw a few men dressed in KKK robes standing around a bonfire with a cross.
Cary Kent Sharp, 47, is one of the men reported to be involved in the incident.
He is the husband of Lahoma mayor, Theresa Sharp.
“It was a prank gone bad,” Mayor Sharp told Enid News.
Mayor Sharp says she was nowhere near her property during the incident.
“I was out trick-or-treating with my son, and I in no way support the activities that occurred,” she said.
Cary Sharp says no harm was meant.
“This is ridiculous, really,” Cary Sharp said. “It was a Halloween night.”
Garfield County Deputy Aaron Moore noted in his report that although the men were not breaking any laws, he asked them to not burn anymore crosses.
Cary Sharp insists that no crosses were burned.
“There was no cross that burned,” Sharp said. “It was held behind the fire to look like it was burning, but there was no fire. The pictures we’ve seen claimed they were burning one, but there was not one burnt.”
Sheriff Jerry Niles told Enid News the incident involved “bad decision making” and “very poor judgement.”
“It was done in very, very poor taste,” Niles said. “It brings up bad images of things that 99.9 percent of Americans, especially Oklahomans, are adamantly against.”
Niles released the following statement on his Facebook page after news of the “prank” started circling:
The Halloween night incident in Lahoma, while unacceptable by me and the members of my staff, is still a matter of poor decision making on the part of several adult males.
This much is known to me. I received information on the incident and dispatched a deputy to check it out. That deputy was already in the area. Lahoma PD had received a complaint from a party, who was upset over the matter of subjects in white robes burning a cross. Officers made contact with the males on their property telling them the activity was in poor taste and to stop.
Social media comments suggested that arrests should have been made. We must have a violation of the law to make arrests, as the fire was legal, the consumption of alcohol was on private property, and no one had stated anyone made threats of violence acts to the deputy at that time.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees certain rights including the right of speech. It doesn’t say the speech has to be in good taste, of common sense or that we have a consensus of agreement. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. wrote in a decision that “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”
While I may disagree with that, I am sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, of the State of Oklahoma and the laws enacted therein. It doesn’t mean I have to like any symbol of hatred, just have to monitor it for violations of the law.