Courtesy of ABC 7 Kvia
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He was a police officer who went undercover as a Ku Klux Klan member in the late 1970s. Before his book about the operation is released next week, the man raised in El Paso told ABC-7 what it was like.
Sergeant Ron Stallworth is not a man you would expect to be a member of the KKK and before he talks to UTEP students about it on Tuesday, he gave ABC-7 a look inside the undercover operation.
"We prevented three cross burnings in Colorado Springs. How? Because I knew about them. I was invited to participate in them," Stallworth said.
Stallworth was as member of the KKK during a nine month long police investigation in the late 1970s. He joined by responding to a classified newspaper ad.
"David Duke processed my application fee, he processed my membership card, he put it in the mail to me," Stallworth described.
Stallworth was the first black detective and youngest in Colorado Springs Police Department Intelligence Unit.
"I carry that card in my wallet and I've carried it since 1979 when it was handed to me," Stallworth said.
His membership was successful by having a white colleague pose during face-to-face meetings. He met Duke, a former grand wizard of the Knights of KKK, face to face but was introduced simply as a detective assigned to be Duke's body guard while he visited Colorado.
"They're no different than you or I except they have a racial belief ... a belief in the superiority of themselves over anyone that doesn't look like them," Stallworth explained.
Now that Sgt. Stallworth is retired from a long career in law enforcement, he can talk about infiltrating the KKK and a lesson to younger generations about dealing with people who preach hate.
"Fight back, challenge them, stand up to them, do not cower in fear," Stallworth said passionately.
Stallworth's book, Black Klansman comes out April 15. It can be pre-ordered online. There were a couple times he feared for his safety or that he'd be recognized, but ended up working law enforcement in several different states for a total of 32 years.
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