Wisconsin Man Seen Walking Dog in Full KKK Robe 'Should Not Have Bothered Anybody' Says Sheriff

A local sheriff in Wisconsin has said that the man seen walking down a road wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood should not have upset people as no crime was committed.

Images of a man wearing a full white and green KKK robe while walking his dog on Monheim Road and Highway K in Conover went viral over the weekend.

Rachel Byington, of Madison, was one of those who shared the photo.

"Hey Vilas County folks. A friend took this photo near the Lakota boat landing off of Highway K in Conover. Be careful," Byington wrote on Facebook.

The image has since been shared more than 1,500 times.

The man in the photo was later confirmed to be 50-year-old Conover resident Charles Michael Booth.

Speaking to WJFW, Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath said his department received at least three calls about a man wearing a KKK gown out in public on June 12.

"He was walking down Highway K, which is about two to three miles out of Conover," said Fath. "It's a country road. It's not in anybody's particular neighborhood.

"It should not have bothered anybody. I realize that that may be offensive to some people, but it's not a crime."

Last month, a police department in San Diego said there were no grounds to prosecute a man who wore a KKK hood while shopping for groceries as it was "not intended to be a racial statement."

The man was photographed wearing a pointed white hood, similar to that worn by the hate group, at a Vons store in Santee, one day after San Diego imposed a new health order requiring everyone to cover their faces when entering a place of business to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement later provided to Newsweek, Fath said that while they were not able to take enforcement against Booth, the department "does not condone his behavior or actions."

Fath added: "The KKK beliefs run contrary to Vilas County Law Enforcement's mission, values, and beliefs. We strongly discourage this type of actions in Vilas County.

"We will be vigilant and continue to monitor this man's actions. Our patrol staff knows of this man and we frequently patrol this area of Vilas County.

"This incident certainly is not supported by the people of Conover or the rest of Vilas County."

Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gregory Jones, president of the Dane County NAACP, accused Booth of committing a "terrorist act" by walking down the road in a full KKK robe.

"[Booth] intended to project what I believe to be white supremacist behaviors by wearing this garb," Jones said. "It is intended to create fear among people—even people who are not of color," he said.

"[People in Vilas County] should be mindful and be willing to stand up and say this is not acceptable in our county at all."

The incident arrives as millions of people sign a number of online petitions demanding that the KKK be classed as a terrorist group, or made illegal.

The KKK is classified as a domestic extremist group as there is no definition for domestic terrorism organizations in the U.S.

Correction 6/16/20, 9:00 a.m. ET: This article and headline were updated to remove reference to the man wearing KKK robes as being from Milwaukee.

This article was updated to include comment from Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath.

(File photo) A member of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participates in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tennessee. A man wearing a KKK hood and robe was seen walking his dog and waving at traffic in Wisconsin. Spencer Platt/Getty