Man Who Passed Out KKK Flyers Now Wanted for Burlington Assault | Off Message

Man Who Passed Out KKK Flyers Now Wanted for Burlington Assault

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The alleged assault - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The alleged assault
Update, August 21, 2019: Burlington police arrested Schenk on Tuesday night.

A Vermont man who once left Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers at the homes of two women of color is now wanted by Burlington police for a Monday morning assault at the downtown transit center.

William D. Schenk, 25, allegedly attacked a 33-year-old man at the bus station just before 11 a.m. Video of the incident shows the victim looking at his phone before a man starts talking to him. The man, allegedly Schenk, takes off his backpack and begins to physically fight the victim, throwing several punches as at least one bystander tries to break it up.

William D. Schenk - FILE: BURLINGTON POLICE
  • File: Burlington Police
  • William D. Schenk
Burlington cops said the two men knew each other.



“The suspect also struck the victim with an object believed to be a small glass pipe, causing a laceration to the victim’s head,” cops wrote in a press release. “He then fled the scene.”

The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Cops had yet to find Schenk, who, they noted, "has a significant history of law-enforcement contacts.” Among those was his 2015 arrest for disorderly conduct after he left flyers that read "Join the Klan and save our land” on the doorsteps of an African American woman and another woman who identifies as Mexican.

In April 2016, Schenk pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to four months in prison. He later appealed the case to the Vermont Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction by a 3-2 decision in May 2018.
"The flyer is a recruitment solicitation — its overt message is to join the Ku Klux Klan," former associate justice John Dooley wrote in the ruling. "It contains no explicit statement of threat. To the extent that it conveys a message of personal threat to the recipient, it is that the Klan will recruit members and inflict harm in the future."