KKK Hood Not OK at Council Meeting

Dennis Zine asked the man twice to remove his hood

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LA City Ch. 35
    Council members walk out after a man refuses to remove his Klan hood.

    LA City Council members walked out after a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit refused to remove his hood Wednesday during a public comments period.

    Councilman Dennis Zine asked the man, identified as Michael Hunt, twice to remove the hood.

    Man Refuses to Remove KKK Hood, Meeting Adjourned

    [LA] Man Refuses to Remove KKK Hood, Meeting Adjourned
    City Council members walk out after a man refuses to remove his KKK hood. (Published Thursday, Jul 16, 2009)

    "Mr. Hunt, you have to remove your hood," Zine said as Hunt, who is black, approached the podium. "Are you refusing to remove your hood?"

    When he refused, Zine said the council could not hear him if he didn't remove the hood.

    "No, this is part of my First Amendment privileges," Hunt said.

    It's not the first time Hunt has appeared in front of the council in Klan garb. The Los Angeles Times reported that Hunt appeared in the outfit at a Tuesday meeting.

    He recently challenged the city's vending ordinance in federal court, the newspaper reported.

    "His getup that he's wearing arguably has some 1st Amendment protection as symbolic speech, as distasteful and misguided as it is," said Deputy City Atty. Dion O'Connell. "However, it's not an issue of anonymous speech because he's taken his hood off and on during the meeting.

    "If his wearing that causes a disruption, then he could be told to remove it."

    Hunt never removed the hood, although he briefly lifted the a flap to ask why he needed to remove it.

    His reasons for attending the meeting remained unclear because the quorum -- the minimum number of council members needed to conduct business -- was broken when some members left the chambers. Zine adjourned the meeting for lack of a quorum.

    "This person has used the N-word in the past, and that has led to the council changing its rules," Councilman Bernard Parks told the Times. "No one who is in attendance, at home watching on Channel 35 or online should be subjected to his indiscretion."