MTA officials are investigating after someone left behind recruitment fliers for the Ku Klux Klan on a Long Island Rail Road train.
Commuter Carlos Sandoval told NBC 4 New York he found the fliers as he left the Montauk branch train in Amagansset earlier this month. The fliers read "The KKK Wants You!" along with a drawing of a Klansman mimicking the image of Uncle Sam pointing in World War I recruitment posters.
"As a person of color, I really felt personally attacked," he said over Skype.
Sandoval reported the incident, and a LIRR spokesman initially told NBC 4 on Tuesday that there's no general prohibition against the distribution of literature on trains or platforms, unless it violates railroad rules or criminal statutes.
But LIRR later amended the statement, telling NBC 4 that "the passing out of any literature that is non-MTA literature is prohibited on all platforms and trains," and that a person caught doing so can be fined $50 or removed from the train.
It's the latest instance of the white supremacy group distributing materials on Long Island. Self-identified members of the hate group told the I-Team in 2015 that their numbers were "growing by the day."
Similar fliers were seen on the island following the election, including in Patchogue last month. The village's mayor says they are disturbing to a community with a large immigrant population.
"Take your hatred and keep it in your own house," he said. "Don't put it in anyone else's."
But Suffolk police say the simple act of distributing them is not a crime. One commuter told NBC 4, "I just don't think it's a big deal, in my opinion. You don't like it, just throw it away."
It's also not the first time that hateful messages have been displayed in mass transit in the tri-state. In 2015, the MTA moved to ban political advertisement on the subway, buses, the LIRR and Metro-North after a judge ruled a pro-Israel group could display anti-Islamic ads, including one that included the quote "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah."