2. OIG findings regarding Roundup participation
by DEA employees
We identified fourteen DEA employees who attended Roundups while employed with DEA. Three of these individuals, [File no. 705], [File no. 748], [ / It is also significant that prior to joining DEA [File no. 748] was employed by another law enforcement agency and worked undercover investigating KKK activities. He told us if racist Klan-type activities had been present at the Roundup, he would have noticed them, and he would not have attended if he had been aware of any such conduct. ] and [File no. 791], [ / The first two times [File no. 791] attended he was not employed by DEA. ] did not attend any Roundups after 1988.
[File no. 340] attended the 1983 and 1985 Roundups. He reported to us the one unspecified racial slur by a drunk person on stage during the 1985 Roundup.
He stated that he neither saw nor heard any additional racist conduct and we developed no evidence to the contrary. In any event, he did not return to any further Roundups.
We also identified four current DEA employees who attended Roundups prior to their employment with DEA. These four individuals, [File no. 136], [ / Also, significantly, [File no. 136] only attended one Roundup for several hours one afternoon. ] [File no. 716], [File no. 824], [ / [File no. 824] is of Mexican American descent. He said he did not experience any problems at the Roundup and said he had planned to return in future years but was unable to make it. ] and [File no. 932], all attended Roundups prior to 1988.
[File no. 25], a supervisory agent, attended five Roundups: 1985, 1986, 1991, 1994, and 1995. Each time he camped outside the main campground. He recalled playing volleyball with some African Americans at the first two Roundups he attended, but he could not identify these individuals. He claimed that he did not observe any racist behavior during the years he attended. None of the first four years of his attendance was marred by significant displays of racism and we found no evidence to contradict his claim that he saw none. He stated that if there had been flagrant racism, he would not have attended or returned to the Roundup. We found no evidence to the contrary.
In 1995, the one year he attended in which we found evidence of flagrant racism, [File no. 25] arrived at the Roundup on Wednesday but left Thursday morning for out-of-town business and did not return until Saturday evening. When he returned on Saturday he was told by other DEA personnel in attendance about the incident involving Jack Scott. He claimed he was upset about the incident but was told that the perpetrators had left without further incident. He said he did not see any allegedly racist T-shirts or any other racist displays during the time he was there.
As [File no. 25] was not aware of any racist activity prior to the last night of the 1995 Roundup and this information indicated that the behavior had not been tolerated by the Roundup, there is no basis for concluding that he encouraged or approved of any racist behavior by others. [ / Although we do not find any basis to criticize [File no. 25] regarding the racial or other allegations raised in this investigation, we are troubled by the fact that in our initial interview he told us he had attended the 1991 Roundup alone, but we learned subsequently that he had attended with a Deputy U.S. Marshal who failed to self-report her attendance. In a reinterview he told us he had forgotten that she had attended until after our initial interview and then he neglected to call us to update the information he had given us. He blamed the failure of recollection on his preoccupation with other matters. Even assuming that he in fact had a failure of recollection during the initial interview, these other matters do not excuse his failure to notify us of additional information when he finally recognized that he had given us incorrect information. ]
[File no. 296], an agent, attended the Roundup in 1988 and 1989. He did not see any racist conduct in either of those years. He claimed to recall seeing several black officers from the TVA in the first year he attended and several Hispanic individuals each year he attended. He did, however, observe extreme drunkenness and what he considered inappropriate behavior. He told us that at the end of the 1989 Roundup he spoke to Rightmyer regarding his concerns about the kind of people -- he referred to them as "yahoos" -- who were beginning to attend the Roundup. He said Rightmyer told him he could not restrict or eliminate people from attending the Roundup so [File no. 296] told Rightmyer to take him off the invitation list. He did not attend any subsequent Roundup. We found no basis to conclude that [File no. 296] encouraged or approved of racist or other misconduct at the Roundup.
[File no. 374], an agent, attended the 1993 Roundup, arriving Friday evening and leaving late Saturday night. While there he did not observe any racist signs or T-shirts. He informed us that he did hear a drunk person on stage use a racial slur, but that person was immediately yanked off the stage and shouted down. The only other racist activity that occurred in 1993 involved Richard Hayward's attempt to bring Duke and white power literature to the Roundup. Hayward had already left the Roundup by the time [File no. 374] arrived so [File no. 374] would not have had an opportunity to see that behavior.
Although [File no. 374] received invitations in the mail for the 1994 and 1995 Roundups, he did not return because he did not enjoy camping or drinking alcohol. He also left the 1993 Roundup early because of these factors. While he had heard of the Roundup for many years prior to attending, he had never heard that it was a racist event or an all-white event. He did not have any sense that blacks or other minorities were not welcome, but he did notice they did not attend. He felt it was unusual that there were no blacks present, and it made him uncomfortable that the event might be perceived as an all-white event. He further told us he would have felt hypocritical going to the Roundup where only white officers were in attendance because he is critical of all-black law enforcement gatherings such as those sponsored by NABNA (National Association of Black Narcotics Agents) and NOBLE.
Because [File no. 374] only observed one racial slur which was immediately taken care of, he had no reason to believe that the Roundup tolerated racist activity. He also left the Roundup several hours after this incident and did not return in subsequent years. Accordingly, there is no evidence that [File no. 374] approved of or encouraged any racist activity at the Roundup.
[File no. 467], an agent, attended four Roundups, from 1992 through 1995. Before he attended his first Roundup he never heard that racist activities had occurred at previous Roundups. The first year he attended he came with two civilian friends; he rode his motorcycle while the two friends were in his personal vehicle. When they arrived at the campground at approximately 10 a.m. the first morning of the Roundup, there was a handmade sign nailed to a tree to the left of the road which said "nigger checkpoint." A very drunk man approached [File no. 467]'s friends in the car and said, "This is a nigger checkpoint, do you have any niggers in your car?" Immediately an older man from the registration desk ran over and told the drunk man to back off. Others yelled at the man to take the sign down. The sign was quickly removed. [File no. 467]'s recollection of this incident was confirmed by several witnesses. [File no. 467] claimed to be very surprised by the presence of the sign and the drunk man's question, but because the incident was resolved so quickly, he did not believe that such actions were sanctioned by the Roundup. He also said there was not much discussion about the sign because there were so few people present at the time he and his friends arrived.
That same year, [File no. 467] saw a David Duke banner hanging on the left side of the bunk house. He told us that the person who put the banner up was immediately told to take it down. Although other witnesses recalled the banner being hung on the beer truck, the claim that it was quickly removed is consistent with what other witnesses reported. He claimed he did not see the skits and did not see the "Buckwheat" T-shirt.
[File no. 467] recalled that when he returned the next year there was a document at the registration desk that everyone was required to read and sign which stated that all attendees acknowledged that the Roundup was not a political organization and it did not discriminate against anyone based on race or religion. He saw no racist conduct at the 1993 or 1994 Roundups.
[File no. 467] reported that a local black police officer camped near his campsite during the 1995 Roundup. Also in 1995, [File no. 467] met some agents, including two black officers, at a local bar. The next day he heard that there was a problem when these two officers came to the campground and someone said something about "niggers" being present. He also heard that Rightmyer had made a speech that everyone was welcome at the Roundup and that some officers from Fort Lauderdale left the Roundup early because they were upset that blacks had attended.
Each year [File no. 467] attended he camped with friends outside the main campground. He spent much of his time riding his motorcycle in the nearby hills and visiting with his friends. He said he did not see any racist T-shirts or skits during any of the Roundups he attended. He did hear at some point that, at an earlier Roundup, someone had painted his face black for a skit but he did not know what it was about and heard that Rightmyer and the MOB had put an end to such skits.
While [File no. 467] witnessed a blatantly racist sign and a drunken man announcing a "nigger checkpoint" when he arrived at his first Roundup, both the sign and the drunken man were dealt with swiftly. The next year he attended there was an explicit policy against racism and he observed no racist conduct at that or the next Roundup. Although he heard about the confrontation with Scott in 1995, he also heard that the persons responsible left the Roundup. He said if the Roundup was a type of white supremacist gathering, he would not have attended. He was very forthright about what he saw at the Roundups, including a broad array of drunken behavior, and was the first witness to inform us of the presence of the 1992 sign. We found no evidence that [File no. 467] encouraged or approved of racist behavior.
[File no. 598], a retired agent, registered for ten Roundups, beginning in 1985 through 1995, missing only the 1991 Roundup. [ / Because [File no. 598] is no longer employed by the Justice Department, his cooperation with OIG was completely voluntary. ] The 1995 Roundup was subsequent to his retirement from DEA. In most years he chose to stay in a nearby motel instead of the campground. He did not participate in any of the official Roundup activities except to eat meals and get beer from the beer truck. He spent his time outside the main campground visiting with friends.
[File no. 598] said he did not see or hear of any racist signs being present at the Roundup. He saw no racist skits, having missed most of the skits over the years, and did not see any David Duke literature or banners. He did remember one year seeing a Boyz on the Hood T-shirt with a black person on the hood of a police car and white officers standing around the car, but he did not recall that this shirt was for sale. He heard in 1995 that "some words were exchanged" with some black officers at the Roundup. The next day he heard Rightmyer give a speech before dinner and announce that everyone was welcome at the Roundup and if anyone could not accept that fact, he (Rightmyer) would give them a refund.
[File no. 598] said he has seen blacks at the Roundup, although he could not recall in which years. We confirmed that he invited a black deputy sheriff to attend, although that person did not go for personal reasons. He reported that he had no doubt that there were racist persons present at the Roundup but opined that they were in the minority and that it was hard in that large of a group to control everyone's behavior. He did not believe that the Roundup was racist and did not hesitate to invite the black deputy sheriff to attend.
Although we would generally have expected that someone who had attended as many Roundups as [File no. 598] would have at least heard about some of the more egregious racist acts, the fact that he did not spend nights at the campground and generally left on Saturday afternoon before the skits were performed may explain his lack of information. We found no evidence that [File no. 598] actually saw or heard any further racist activity at the Roundup other than the one T-shirt with possible racial overtones. His invitation to a minority deputy sheriff to attend is inconsistent with knowledge of the Roundup as a racist event. Thus, we find that [File no. 598] did not knowingly encourage or approve of racist conduct at the Roundup.
[File no. 676], a retired supervisory agent, attended the Roundup every year from 1985 through 1989. [ / He also drove to the campground and spent approximately half an hour there in 1990 to speak to someone on business. On this last occasion he did not enter the main campground area, did not register, and did not participate in any activities of the Roundup. He was accompanied by an agent in his office who has never attended a Roundup. [File no. 676] was also extremely cooperative even though because he was retired he was under no obligation to speak to us. ] [File no. 676] was the only Justice employee who became a MOB. He told us that one year Rightmyer informed him that he was being made a MOB and he received a blue cap with MOB on it. He did not recall ever seeing a MOB hat before that time. His selection was probably in the first year the MOB was created. He did not know why he was made a MOB and his only duty as a MOB was to make sure there were judges for the volleyball games. He told us he had no knowledge about the REX or the election of officers.
He generally did not arrive at the Roundup until Friday night. He camped at varying spots around the campground with various friends. He did not see any racist signs or activities during the years he attended the Roundup. In light of the years he attended, the last one being 1989, we have no reason to doubt this claim. He said he did not recall seeing any minorities at the Roundup but attributed this to the limited number of minorities in law enforcement in Eastern Tennessee as opposed to any type of rule prohibiting minority attendance.
Because we found no evidence that he observed or had knowledge of any racist activity at the Roundup, we conclude that [File no. 676] did not encourage or approve of any racist conduct at the Roundup.
[File no. 704], an analyst, attended the Roundup from 1993 through 1995. When she arrived at her first Roundup she was given a document to read indicating that the Roundup was not political and racist conduct would not be tolerated. By the presence of this document and the fact she was required to read it, she inferred that some inappropriate conduct had occurred at a previous Roundup. She also said she inferred, however, that similar conduct would not be tolerated if it reappeared.
She volunteered to work on security her first year, patrolling the campground one night for a two-hour shift. She saw no racist conduct that year or the following year. Each year she attended she camped outside the main campground with other DEA attendees and primarily stayed outside the central campground except for meals. While she observed the skit with the sheep in 1993 and a retired suburban Alabama police officer expose himself and defecate on stage in 1994, she did not see any racist skits.
In 1995 she volunteered for the registration desk. While at the desk she registered a black officer from a local police department. We obtained a photograph of her with this officer and two other attendees taken later during the Roundup. While at the registration she also saw some people she believed to be local officers drive up to the campground with a small statue of a black figure in the back of their jeep. She told the MOB in charge of registration about the statue and observed him order these people to put the statue away and not to bring it out during the Roundup.
Later she heard that some people had called out the term "nigger" to the blacks at the campground. She heard that the president of the Roundup, a Johnson City, Tennessee, police officer, had apologized to the black officers for the behavior of the other attendees and that Rightmyer had told the Fort Lauderdale officers who engaged in the racist conduct that if they did not like the fact that blacks were at the Roundup, they should leave, which they did.
She also told us that early on Saturday morning, before most people were awake, she saw some racist graffiti painted on one of the portable toilets. She immediately found Rightmyer and reported it to him. He told her that it was being taken care of and shortly thereafter it was painted over.
[File no. 704] told us that other than these two incidents in 1995, she did not observe any racist conduct at the Roundup. She did not observe any racist T-shirts, skits, or signs at the Roundup. In light of her admissions regarding the 1995 Roundup and because the only reported incidents of racism in 1993 and 1994 were Hayward's efforts to bring in white power literature and a possible suggestion late one night to check cars for "niggers," we found her claim credible.
As [File no. 704] neither observed nor heard of racist conduct and believed, based on the document she had to read at her first Roundup, that the Roundup did not tolerate racist behavior, there is nothing in her first two years of attendance which would suggest that she either encouraged or approved of racist conduct at the Roundup. While she was aware of three racist incidents in 1995, the first incident she heard was taken care of with the perpetrators leaving and the last two incidents she immediately reported to Rightmyer or to the registration coordinator to see that they were corrected. Thus, her conduct indicated that she did not encourage or approve of racist conduct at the Roundup.
[File no. 713], an agent, attended four Roundups, three prior to 1989 and then one more in 1994. Because there is no evidence that he observed or was aware of any racist behavior in the earlier years he attended, we conclude that there is no basis to believe that his attendance in those years demonstrated any approval of racist conduct. Of note in evaluating his attendance in 1994, however, [File no. 713] attended a Roundup in the mid-1980s with two Hispanic officers from the Miami area. These officers told us they felt very welcome at the Roundup and enjoyed their time there. [File no. 713] also recalled seeing two black TVA officers at that same Roundup.
[File no. 713] told us that he did not have as much fun at the 1994 Roundup as he had in the earlier years. He watched the skits and did not believe they were as funny as they had been in the earlier years but noted he saw nothing racist in them. He recalled seeing a black officer at the 1994 Roundup. He saw nothing racist at this Roundup. He had heard that someone in a previous year had attempted to pass out David Duke literature, but he had been told that the person was kicked out. [File no. 713] did not return in 1995. We found no evidence that [File no. 713] was aware of or approved of any racist conduct at the Roundups he attended.
[File no. 797], a group supervisor, attended the 1993 and 1994 Roundups prior to his becoming a supervisor. Each year he camped outside the main campground. The only official activities he participated in were the meals and whitewater rafting. He also went horseback riding at a local stable during the Roundups. He claimed not to have observed any racist behavior. The only racist conduct specifically identified in 1993 was Hayward's efforts to distribute white power materials, and the only claim of racist conduct in 1994 was the possible suggestion by an unidentified person that cars coming into the campground late at night should be checked for "niggers." We have no reason to believe that [File no. 797] saw or was otherwise made aware of these two events. We conclude that there is no evidence that [File no. 797] was aware of any racist conduct at the Roundup or approved of such conduct.
[File no. 952], an agent, attended the 1994 and 1995 Roundups for several hours. He did not stay overnight in either year. Other than eating the evening meal one night in 1995, he did not participate in any official Roundup activities. He did not officially register as a guest and did not pay the registration fee. He spent most of his time outside the main campground socializing with friends or at Grumpy's. He did not observe or hear of any racist behavior during any of the time he was at the Roundups. He did not hear about the 1995 incident with Jack Scott and the Florida officers until it was reported in the media. He did not see any racist T-shirts or hats. He told us if he had seen any of these items, he would have left. He invited a black deputy sheriff to accompany him to the 1995 Roundup, but that officer was
unable to attend due to work responsibilities. We found no evidence that [File no. 952] participated in or approved of racist behavior at the Roundups he attended.