Indiana State Police investigators are trying to determine if the recent assault on former Ku Klux Klan leader Jeff Berry by his son, Anthony Berry and another man, were tied to the men's efforts to reinvigorate the KKK. Not surprisingly the current focus of the hate group is closely aligned with focus of Christian fundamentalists--homosexuals and illegal immigrants. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Angela Mapes reports today:
Two men charged in the beating of former Ku Klux Klan leader Jeff Berry are believed to be involved in recent efforts to reinvigorate the Klan in northeast Indiana, a state police detective said.
Fred Wilson, 21, of the 200 block of North Elm Street, Albion, was arrested Friday and charged with battery, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Wilson is the second suspect arrested in connection with the beating.
He is accused of throwing a chair at Jeff Berry, 53, and punching him the evening of July 1 during a party in Spencerville. During the same argument, Berry’s son, 31-year-old Anthony Berry, beat his father in the head with his fist, critically injuring him, according to court documents.
Anthony Berry was arrested Tuesday on an aggravated battery charge.
Computer-generated fliers recently distributed in downtown Auburn listed post office boxes in Auburn and Albion as contacts for the Ku Klux Klan. State Police Detective Mark Heffelfinger confirmed that the Albion post office box is registered under Fred Wilson’s name and that the Auburn box is registered to Anthony Berry.
The brochure denounces homosexuality and “illegal immagrants.”
Based on the information on the fliers, Anthony Berry and Wilson appear to be acquaintances or friends who have been involved recently in Klan activity, Heffelfinger said. Heffelfinger would not comment on whether Anthony Berry’s or Wilson’s apparent involvement with the Klan had anything to do with the argument
that led to Jeff Berry’s beating.
In the 1920s, the KKK reigned supreme in Indiana, controlling the Indiana legislature and all state-wide elected officials. The group, which has historically been comprised of white Protestants, used its political clout to target minorities with whom it differed, such as blacks, Catholics, Jews and immigrants. While Christian fundamentalist groups abhor comparisons of them to the KKK, their legislative goals are often similar. Christian fundamentalists are the leading forces behind current legislative pushes against homosexuals and illegal immigrants.