Archived: KKK Costume ‘Kind of Funny,’ Says Mayor’s Husband

By Sheryl Estrada

A photo of the men posted on Facebook.

Acceptable Halloween fun in Lahoma, Okla., includes dressing up like the Ku Klux Klan and holding torches. There are a few stipulations, though: you must be drunk, a “good ol’ boy” and have at least one member of the group be married to the mayor.

Cary Sharp, 47, is the husband of Lahoma Mayor Theresa Sharp, also 47. He and some of his friends dressed in white robes and hats, mimicking the signature uniform of the KKK. They lit a bonfire and had torches and a cross. (Sharp and his friends said the cross was not burned.)

According to Enid News, “at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, a woman reported people on Anthony Street were dressed as Klu Klux Klan members and burning a cross, according to the report. The reporting party was extremely upset, [Garfield County Sheriff Jerry] Niles said.”

A picture of the men has circulated on Facebook and sparked outrage. But it was all in good fun, according to Sharp.

“We just thought it would be something kind of funny,” he told News9. “And it’s not funny at all.”

“We sat around the bonfire and drank a couple of beers my buddy, his last name is White. The subject got brought up and [we] thought it would be something to do and it’s not something to do. I’m embarrassed. I have shamed my family and friends and I apologize for that.”

At the time the incident took place, Mayor Sharp said she was trick-or-treating in another part of town.

“[It] happened on my property,” she told KOCO, holding back tears. “You know, I don’t know what else to say other than I’m sorry to the community and I’m sorry to the public. It was the stupidity and actions of four separate individuals, and it does not reflect on me or anyone else who is in the community.”

She described the situation to NBC News as “four good ol’ boys sitting around drinking and things got out of control.”

Sharp said she and her husband are not affiliated with the KKK.There have been calls for her resignation by community members.”I have no intention of doing so,” she said.

“We are a small community, and in no way do I feel this represents our views as a whole,” Misty Meister, the witness reporting the incident, said in an interview. “It is upsetting due to the fact that we live in a community with families of different ethnic backgrounds, and this is a symbol of hate and intolerance.”

Niles said that although the act demonstrated “poor decision making,” it did not break any laws. No charges were filed against the men. The department may turn it over to the DA as protocol.

The KKK, founded in 1866, had branches in nearly every southern state by 1870. The hate group burned crosses; staged rallies, parades and marches; and lynched Black Americans.The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) released the report “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” in February. Between 1877 (the end of Reconstruction) and 1950, the report states, there were 3,959 racial-terror lynchings of Blacks at least 700 more than had previously been reported.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies and tracks hate groups in the U.S. According to its “Hate Map,” two Neo-Nazi groups operate in Oklahoma. The website states that, as of 2014, there are 72 active KKK groups in the country.

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