KKK activity may be on the rise; some fear Klan resurgence near Atlanta

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Paulding County, GA  — The Ku Klux Klan is making themselves known around metro Atlanta.

Since last month, Klan recruitment flyers have been distributed in Rockdale and Paulding Counties. And in June, a cross-burning took place in the backyard of a business in west Paulding County.

It turns out the owner of that business – the Georgia Peach Bar and Grill – is already on the radar of local and federal authorities, WGCL reports.

“I am a supporter for anybody – and of any speech – they want as long as you’re not going out and violating other people’s rights by saying you have to believe my way,” says Patrick Lanzo.

Lanzo’s business was the site of a June 6 cross-burning. A flyer for the event described his place as the “original Klan bar and grill.”

Inside the establishment, you’ll find KKK memorabilia – including photos and mannequins wearing hoods – and more than one Confederate flag.

Lanzo’s daughter, Brandi, took pictures of the cross-burning ceremony and shared them with CBS46 News.

“It’s a private group. They have the right to recruit people just like any other group has the right to recruit people,” says Brandi Lanzo.

Her father’s comments – and activities like the cross-burning in his field – have landed him on a terrorist watch list.

“We’re not scared to be on the list… it doesn’t bother us,” says Patrick Lanzo.

He’s also on the federal no-fly list.

“Well I don’t fly anywhere anyway. I drive. Just like I told the secret service when they asked me if I have a passport – I said no. If I left the country, you wouldn’t let me back in,” says Lanzo.

Lanzo thinks we may see a resurgence of the KKK in the near future as a result of the growing, heated debate over the Confederate flag.

Civil Rights advocates acknowledge there’s reason to be concerned.

“Racism is a topic in this country that we run from and now it has escalated,” explained Dr. Charles Steele of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

CBS46 showed Steele pictures from the cross-burning in Paulding County. He says he was most alarmed by images of children participating, but he says he’d rather face blatant discrimination than invisible hatred.

“Because you know what you’re dealing with. If I know what I’m dealing with, I can deal. I want them to come out if it’s embedded in them because it’s better for us to deal with it so we can nip it in the bud now,” says Steele.