A self-proclaimed recruiter for the Knights Party of the Ku Klux Klan is drawing attention for the KKK and Confederate flags he has been flying above his West Boca Raton home.
Kelsey Hayes put away his flags for the night Tuesday. But he said they would flying high in the morning Wednesday and sure enough, he raised them again.
"If I wanted attention, I'd drop my drawers and run down the street," Hayes said Wednesday. "I don't care about other people's opinions."
He equated his flags with the Puerto Rican flag that someone else is flying.
“He’s proud of his heritage, I'm proud of mine," said Hayes, as he lowered his flags Tuesday. He said he has been flying them for weeks.
Hayes said he's simply exercising his First Amendment right. A sign on his front porch lets those interested know that "members are wanted." There is also a noose hanging out front.
When asked why he displays the noose out front, Hayes responded, "That's because I don't have a big tree in my backyard to hang it from."
Hayes, who said he is unemployed, said he would also be putting his noose back up Wednesday.
"Just a prop, just an ornament for my lawn," he said. "It's just an ornament, it doesn't symbolize anything."
Margaret Martin, who lives just across the way from Hayes, finds the display offensive.
"It's reminding me of back in the old days. And I didn't think that was still going on anymore. You know, this is 2014," Martin said.
Many other neighbors expressed similar views, saying the community should value its diversity.
"We don't want you here. We're the only one that should be here, that's the kind of message it's sending," said another woman.
The Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups, says the incident is a teachable moment – and not to buy what Hayes’ wife says about the KKK flag.
"It's nothing, it doesn't mean anything, we're not hurtful,” said his wife, Susan Curley.
"This is a flag that specifically represents a terrorist group in the United States, the oldest terrorist group in the United States, and we know what their history is representative of,” responded Robert Tanen of the ADL. “Hanging a noose in front of his front yard? It's very clear that that is an intimidation symbol for the African-American community."
A sheriff's deputy stopped by to talk to Hayes Wednesday.
Meanwhile, one outraged neighbor screamed at Curley, "That flag represents that you are a racist pig!"
"Scream all you want," Curley said.
The president of the nearby homeowners’ association said there is little that can be done about the display.
"I called code enforcement and they said it's perfectly legal to put out any kind of flag you want," Nick Scalice said.
Hayes, who called the flags his "patriotic duty," said he has no plans to stop.
"They've never said anything to my face and they're entitled to their free speech as well as I am,” he said.