A self-professed Ku Klux Klan member is seeking a trial over charges that he illegally posted KKK fliers outside a bank in Hampton Bays last month.
Douglas Munker, 34, appeared in Southampton Town Justice Court on Friday dressed all in black, his shirt and baseball cap adorned with KKK patches. He rejected a plea offer that would have given him a $150 littering fine, and told a prosecutor he wanted to make his case at trial instead.
"I felt that I didn't break any laws, and I had nothing to hide," Munker said in an interview before his court appearance, in which he defended his actions as an expression of free speech.
Southampton Town Police said they ticketed Munker, of Hampton Bays, on April 3 for taping three fliers to an ATM at a Capital One Bank on March 17. Distributing a handbill is a town code violation punishable by a $5,000 fine or 30 days in jail.
The fliers contained anti-immigration and anti-gay messages and read "America, wake up!" and "Stop AIDS."
Southampton Town Police Lt. Susan Ralph Monday referred questions about the case to the detective division. Detectives did not return calls for comment.
Munker said he is in a chapter of the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights that has grown from about a dozen members to more than a hundred in Hampton Bays since he joined more than a year ago. He said there are branches in Shirley, Babylon and Port Jefferson, and more in upstate New York.
Dozens of KKK pamphlets were left outside homes in Hampton Bays, Shirley and Babylon over the past year, prompting elected officials to hold a September news conference denouncing their appearance on Long Island. Munker said he told Southampton Town detectives who questioned him that he was not involved in the pamphleting incidents.
Southampton officials told Newsday earlier this year they do not believe there is a substantial KKK presence in their town, and attributed the pamphlets to a few individuals.
Munker told Justice Andrea Schiavoni that he wanted a court-appointed attorney. Schiavoni scheduled his next appearance for May 22.