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TV Host Geraldo Rivera Fights With Klansman, Both Arrested

August 17, 1992|From Associated Press

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Talk show host Geraldo Rivera and a Ku Klux Klansman were arrested after they scuffled during a Klan rally Sunday, police said.

Rivera, who was taken to a hospital, said he suffered a badly bitten thumb and cuts.

Rivera and John R. MacLaughlin, 42, of Champaign, Ill., were taken into custody at a rally attended by about 60 Klan members and a slightly larger number of anti-Klan demonstrators, said police Lt. Larry Loveland.

Rivera was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge and MacLaughlin was arrested on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, Loveland said.

Both men posted bail and were released after about three hours in jail.

Rivera said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press that he was in Janesville to tape the rally when one of the Klansmen began calling him names.

"He first called me a 'spic,' then a dirty Jew, then threw something at me and kicked me in the left leg," Rivera said. "Then I hit him back. Then we fell to the ground and I got on top and we were both arrested."

Loveland said that about 60 Klan members and a slightly larger group from the anti-Klan faction "Peace March" confronted each other during a "white power" rally at the residence of Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Ken Petersen.

While police were arresting two Klansmen, they saw the confrontation between Rivera and MacLaughlin and arrested them, he said.

Rivera said he was released from jail in time to return to the rally with a film crew and record a cross burning.

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