Monday, April 14, 2014

Former El Pasoan recounts stories from days as an undercover cop in 'Black Klansman'

By Ramón Rentería / El Paso Times

 Former El Pasoan Ron Stallworth still carries an official
Ku Klux Klan membership card in his wallet.

Stallworth details how he infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in "Black Klansman," a new book describing his work as an undercover intelligence police officer in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Stallworth, 60, a 1971 graduate of Austin High School, became the youngest and first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, 22 months after he signed up as a patrolman.
"I broke racial grounds in that department," he said during a recent visit to El Paso. is releasing the retired veteran police officer's book on Tuesday. It may be ordered through

Stallworth, a decorated police officer, retired in 2005 after 32 years working undercover investigating narcotics, vice, criminal intelligence and organized crime in Colorado, Arizona and Utah.
Stallworth monitored subversive groups or individuals while working as an intelligence officer in Colorado in 1978.
One day, he spotted a newspaper classified ad posted by the local Ku Klux Klan chapter as part of its recruiting efforts.
Stallworth sent a note to a post office box saying that he was a white racist interested in learning more about the Klan. He mistakenly signed his own name and included an undercover telephone number.
"I thought they'd send me a leaflet or something like that," he said. "Six days later, I get a phone call on the undercover phone line. The guy identified himself as the local leader of the new Ku Klux Klan chapter in Colorado Springs. He wanted to know why I wanted to become a Klansman. Thus began my journey into becoming a black Klansman."
The two agreed to meet a week later, but "for obvious reasons, I couldn't meet with him," Stallworth said.

So Stallworth recruited a friend in the narcotics division to pose as him during face-to-face meetings with the Klan leaders. He continued to chat with the Klan leadership by phone.

"These idiots never figured out that they were talking to two different people," he said.
The book also describes Stallworth's relationship with David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. At one point, Stallworth was assigned to help provide security for Duke during a visit to Colorado.

Stallworth had other brushes with history. He once was assigned to undercover work monitoring Stokely Carmichael, a charismatic black activist in the civil rights movement.
He also has written and published books on the correlation between gangster rap music and street gang culture.

About his 32 years service in law enforcement, Stallworth said he always wanted to become an undercover police officer, partly because he hated wearing uniforms.

"I'm somewhat radical," he said. "I have very little decorum. If I want something I go get it."
Ramón Rentería may be reached at 915-546-6146.

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