Burning cross under investigation
WELLMAN — Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said that his department is still looking into reports of a burning cross Sunday morning at Highway 22 and Hickory Avenue in Wellman.
Dunbar said this morning that he had not spoken with the deputy who responded to the scene and was unsure of the size of the cross or the damage caused by fire. The Washington County Communications Center log reported that someone had called in with a report of a burning cross. The report also said there was no fire when deputies and the Wellman Fire Department arrived.
A burning cross is a practice sometimes associated with the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan. The Klan’s practice of burning a cross is loosely based on an ancient Scottish practice of burning a St. Andrews Cross as a beacon to muster forces.
Dunbar said that he is unaware of any Klan activity in the county. He said that every few years some literature is disbursed in the area. He believes it was juveniles playing a prank.
“There are no families in the area I can think of who would be targeted for such a thing,” he said.
He said that if someone was targeted and the burning cross was being used for intimidation purposes, it could constitute a hate crime under Iowa law.
Dunbar does not know if there is any connection to reports of an individual in Kalona who found a noose hanging from one of his trees.