Kennesaw police spokesman Scott Luther said the protest, which is expected to end around 7 p.m., has been peaceful.
Wildman’s has been open since 1971 and describes itself as a museum. Along with selling Confederate flags, the cramped storefront has an array of racist items on display, including an early Ku Klux Klan outfit with a noose around its neck, photos of people holding a Nazi flag and dolls of children with exaggerated African American features popular during the Jim Crow era. The dolls are stored on shelves labeled with a racial slur.
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Myers, who was seen outside his store Friday, told a reporter he doesn’t believe what he has on display is racist or offensive. Along with the American memorabilia, Myers also said he has items from Nazi Germany.
“It’s all history, regardless what you think about it,” said Myers, who is about 90 and occasionally emerged from his store to watch the protesters and speak with reporters.
The protesters were having none of it. Frederick Saunders of nearby Acworth said Wildman’s has been a “foundation of hate for decades.” Saunders also said the public should boycott other Main Street businesses to show their disapproval of Wildman’s presence in downtown.
“You have a business on Main Street that promotes straight hatred, and nobody … wants to address the elephant in the room,” he said. “That’s my issue.”
Adrianna Ballard, a KSU student, said Wildman’s is offensive because it’s a “store that’s based on our oppression” and displays racist items “like it is something to be enjoyed.”
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The protesters also held signs at the corner of North Main Street and Stephenson Avenue denouncing police brutality against black Americans.
Kennesaw Police Chief Bill Westenberger addressed the protesters. The chief, who had about 10 officers stationed nearby, said Floyd’s death was “absolutely horrendous” and his department does not use tactics like the one that killed the 59-year-old in Minnesota.
“That is not who we are and that is not how we train,” he said.
Westenberger said he and his department supported the activists’ right to protest.
“There needs to be more dialogue,” he told gathered protesters. “There needs to be more action from our community to work together to make a difference in what’s happening in our world. I want you to know that you have our ears.”
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