City: Race Rally Will Cost Taxpayers Thousands

Knoxville (WVLT) - Knoxville city officials are tallying costs for this weekend’s white supremacist rally after last month’s rally cost taxpayers more than $53,000.

Minus the red carpet, white supremacist were bussed in, said their peace with police protection, then bussed out, all at your expense.

Some residents are questioning why they must fund the cost of hate.

After white supremacists were bussed to and from this weekends rally to speak their message, a more than five hundred dollar bill for the bussing alone is going to the city for you to pay.

"They did bring them on busses. Had prearranged to meet with them and bring them on busses. Again, that was a safety and security thing,” says Knoxville Communications Coordniator Randy Kenner.

That safety issue also cost taxpayers for police protection, protection you have to pay for.

"You have to have people between them and counter protestors because if they mix you are going to have a volatile situation and someone could get hurt or killed, so if there's going to be a rally down there we're going to have a heavy police presence,” Kenner says.

The rally also blocked the main transfer station for those riding Knoxville's Area Transit who were diverted to the station near the UT Conference Center.

"Undoubtedly, the change in the location of the transfer site would have caused some inconvenience for our passengers,” says KAT General Manager Cindy McGinnis.

Especially for Shawen Brown, who says it made him thirty minutes late for work. "It was frustrating because I couldn't figure out where the bus was. I wasn't used to it."

And frustrating for some Knoxville residents who were inconvenienced and had to pay for it.

"Yeah, they can do it if they let them get by with it,” say Knoxvillian Jerry Mink. “Why don't they just tell them no rallies?"

"This is the state of Tennessee. We have a constitution. We're also under the United States constitution. You have the right to free speech,” says Kenner.

Because it was a racial event, even picking the bus drivers was handled with care, as McGinnis says, they used two white male bus drivers for the supremacists.

City officials say they hope to have a tally of this weekend’s costs in just under two weeks.

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