“My wife and I periodically pinch ourselves and look at ourselves and say, ‘Can you believe this?'” Ron Stallworth told Daniel Marin of KTSM in El Paso.
Ron Stallworth’s story is hard to believe.
In the late 1970s, he joined the Colorado Springs Police Department, where he became the first black detective with the force. In 1978, he did the unthinkable.
“I was sitting in my office,” Stallworth said. “I saw an ad for the Ku Klux Klan. For information, there was a post office box.”
Fletcher Howard just retired two years ago after 39 years with CSPD.
“Ronnie was one of my training officers. He had related to me that’s what he was going to do,” he said. “We kinda thought he was crazy cause who would accept a black man into the Klan?”
Stallworth sent a letter. A couple weeks later, he got a call.
“Hi, this is Ken,” Stallworth remembered saying.
The other person on the line asked him, “‘Why do you want to join the Klan?'”
Stallworth recalled, “I said ‘My sister is dating a black man, and every time he puts his filthy black hands on her pure white skin I cringe.’ He said ‘You’re just the kind of guy we want.'”
Within the year, Stallworth was able to infiltrate the white supremacist group. He gathered information, sabotaged cross burnings, and even gained the trust of leaders.
When it came to meetings, though, a white police officer posed as Stallworth.
“They had to at all times believe they were communicating with one person,” Stallworth said. “Many of them are not the brightest bulbs in the socket. There’s a lot of wanting. There’s one person on the phone and a totally different person in person.”
The white officer who posed as Stallworth did not want to be named in his book or the movie.
Not too many officers on the force even knew about Stallworth’s undercover work. Those who did were in disbelief.
Fletcher said, “We thought he was joking! He said, ‘No!, I even got a membership card!'”
Stallworth still has that card and has since chronicled those unbelievable events in a book — “Black Klansman” — that has caught the eye of director Spike Lee.
“The son of Denzel Washington will play me,” he said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spike Lee will direct and produce the movie with filmmaker Jordan Peele also producing. Denzel Washington’s son — John David Washington — will star in the crime thriller as Stallworth. Other actors in the film include Adam Driver of Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Laura Harrier of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Stallworth, now a newlywed living in El Paso, will be heading to Hollywood for the preview with his wife, Patsy.
“It’s only right,” she said. “If it touches one person he would have succeeded.”
“I didn’t plan on anything like this happening, I’m proud of myself,” Stallworth said. “Hollywood this fall. I’m proud of the career I had.”
The movie is already in production and will likely be released this November, just in time for Oscar consideration.