Neighbor confronts man flying KKK flag in yard - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Neighbor confronts man flying KKK flag in yard

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Kelsey Hayes Kelsey Hayes

WEST BOCA RATON, Fla. (WSVN) -- A shouting match erupted in a South Florida neighborhood after two homeowners decided to display icons of hate on their property.

The men behind the flags associated with the Ku Klux Klan have said they are simply exercising their First Amendment rights, but so are some neighbors who screamed in anger about the flags. "You are a racist pig!" shouted Susan Wantz. "That flag represents that you are a racist pig!"

"I don't care about other people's opinion," said Kelsey Hayes.

Hayes owns one of two homes in a West Boca Raton neighborhood that has flags associated with the Ku Klux Klan in their front yards. The mobile homes, located within a few blocks of each other, west of 441, along Sandalfoot Boulevard, in unincorporated Southwestern Palm Beach County, have been raising neighbors' eyebrows for almost a week. Residents said Hayes not only raised the flag then but even displayed a noose in his front yard.

After Hayes took his flag down Tuesday night, the homeowner said he would put it back up the next morning, and he delivered. After ignoring multiple questions from a 7News reporter, the mobile homeowner became flustered and said, "I said enough yesterday. Like I said, I just woke up, so leave me alone."

His wife, Marla Curley, was a little more vocal, though. "I'm fat, man, and if people call me names and look at me funny, I'm like, eh, shrug it off."

But anger over the flag finally boiled over when Wantz walked by. She pointed and reiterated, "That flag represents that you are a racist pig ... You're not welcome." Wantz continued to scream across the street saying, "What is wrong with you people?! I've been here for 32 years. You don't belong here! Tan America!"

Curley replied back, "I don't even know what that means."

"Tan America! Thirty-two years, this is my neighborhood! Not yours! If you don't like it, get out! Go where this kind of crap is taken!" screamed back Wantz.

"Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop all your hooting and howling, will ya? It is a flag, up a pole. That's all it is," said Curley.

Wantz then explained to the media, "Tanning of America means there is not a box on any form that says you are black, white, Asian, Eskimo, whatever. This is America!"

Neighbor Karina Santamaria said, "I just think that is crazy. My children walk down the street. I'm Spanish, to me that is very uncomfortable."

Resident Margaret Martin, who lives across the street calls the her neighbor's actions backward. "It's like I'm going back in time. Like what my ancestors and family went through, so do I have to worry if I'm gonna get a burnt cross on my lawn?" said Martin.

Even worse, she said, Hayes has been alleged to have tried to recruit area kids. "Now you're recruiting kids? That's sick."

When asked why he put the flags back up after negative reaction from neighbors, the homeowner responded, "Because it's my right, I can." Hayes said, "If I wanted attention I would drop my drawers and run down the street. I'm not looking for attention."

Devin Heilberg is a teen who lives in the neighborhood. "He said, 'Read these articles,' like, KKK books-- I forgot what it was called," he said, "and the website was, I think, www.kkk.com."

Several blocks from Jones, there is that other home that displays the same KKK flag and also a sign that read: "Warning: Mess with the Klan and the results will be ugly! Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." No one at the home would answer knocks on the door. However, a man stepped forward to speak in defense of his neighbor. "If you go into someone's yard... if you come into my yard, I'm gonna bite your head off."

Some of the neighbors are now wearing shirts that read, "Mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park."

After the man, who did not give his name, was corrected that the sign did not say anything about a yard but referenced "the Klan," he said, "Well, maybe you shouldn't mess with the Klan."

That sign was covered hours later with a towel, but the KKK flag still flapped in the wind below a United States flag, on a pole planted into the front yard of the home.

Back at Hayes' residence, the noose once seen hanging under a tent, was taken down and sat on a chair, not far from a sign stating, "Members wanted." Most people, here, though, don't seem interested in joining. Wantz said, "That stands for hate. Hate! There's no room in America for hate!" She continued to scream. "It's ignorant! It's ignorant! You are stupid! People like you don't belong here. It's people like you that give trailer parks a bad name!"

Another neighbor said there have been complaints filed with the neighborhood association, but so far, that association says, there is nothing they can do about it because no laws have been broken.

The family took the KKK flag down Wednesday night. When asked whether the flag would be put up again, Hayse's wife Marla Curley said, "No, no. no. no oh no. How can I emphasize that? No."


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