In January, a Tennessee man named T.J. Kirkwood killed four people and wounded six others when he opened fire at a movie theater in Chattanooga.
Kirkley, who was arrested in June, was a white supremacist.
The shootings, which also injured dozens of people, came amid a nationwide backlash against the Confederate flag, which has been flying over public places for more than a century.
Last month, the Tennessee legislature passed a resolution to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds, and in the wake of the shootings, lawmakers voted to rename the state “The Tennessee of the South.”
Kirkwood, whose name is on the flag, was also sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the wake, Kirkwood’s supporters have become vocal.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that tracks hate groups, has identified the website www.thechattanoogashooting.com as the source of Kirkwoods manifesto.
In response, the website, which is still up, has changed the headline to “The Southern Poverty Project Calls for the De-Stigmatization of the Charleston Shooting.”
A post on the site now says the group “does not support the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol grounds and that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of oppression and oppression that should be eradicated from the nation’s public discourse.”
The group also wrote, “There are thousands of people who believe that the symbol of the Confederacy is an oppressive symbol of white supremacy that should not be tolerated.”
A spokesman for the SPLC, Brian Levin, said the website’s “actions were completely out of bounds and beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse.”
A representative for the website declined to comment.
Kirkridge’s attorneys, James Miller and Stephen Felt, say the Southern Poverty Center’s report and the change in headline are “outright lies” and “deliberately false,” according to a press release from their law firm.
Kirkridges defense attorney, David Schlossberg, said in a statement that the “possibility of racial bias in the media is a myth.”
“The website has taken down the Southern P.I.C. website, and it was never the intent of the Southern Prosecution Agency to create an environment of racial tension, nor did the Southern Public Prosecutors Office intend to use the website to further the political agenda of its members,” Schlossers statement said.
“The SPLC is not a credible news source.”
The Southern Prosecutions Agency did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman said the agency is investigating the SPLSC and its website.
The SPLC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kirkridges arrest and the website.
Earlier this year, the group launched a social media campaign to “make the Confederate Army and the Ku Klux Klan a thing of the past.”
In response to a tweet by SPLC’s James Miller, the Southern Council of Churches said in the statement that Kirkridge “is not a member of the SCC but merely a follower of their beliefs.”
“We are grateful that the SPCLSC has chosen to remove all of their hateful propaganda from their website.” “
A screenshot of the website that says, “The SCC does not support removal of Confederate Battle Flags from the Statehouse Grounds.” “
We are grateful that the SPCLSC has chosen to remove all of their hateful propaganda from their website.”
A screenshot of the website that says, “The SCC does not support removal of Confederate Battle Flags from the Statehouse Grounds.”
(Southern Poverty Law Centre)