Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

8. 1987

The first reports of a Confederate flag being displayed, a more common sight in future years, were associated by witnesses with the 1987 Roundup. We estimate that approximately 470 people attended the 1987 Roundup; we identified 110 attendees and interviewed 71, including 8 DOJ employees. [/ Three of these eight were not DOJ employees at the time. ] Treasury OIG interviewed an additional thirty attendees. One recalled a lone individual playing some racist music on his car stereo. He believed that the car belonged to a "local police officer from Mississippi." He did not know the person's name or his agency. [ / The two incidents in 1985 and this music in 1987 were the only evidence of racist misconduct we found from 1980 through 1988. On July 13, however, it was suggested by ATF Director John Magaw, on "Good Morning America," that from 1985 onward the Roundup "really has had discrimination almost every year." Because our investigation was not bearing this out, we spoke to Magaw to determine if he had learned something contrary from other sources. Magaw told us he had no personal information regarding this claim and that he merely relayed what he had been told in an oral briefing by a member of his department. We interviewed this individual who told us that he had that impression from an oral briefing he had received from an agent who had interviewed Rightmyer. However, the first Rightmyer interview did not take place until
July 13, almost certainly after Magaw's early morning television appearance. Further, the agent's memorandum of the Rightmyer interview states that Rightmyer "knew of only a few racial incidents at the campsite, all of them taking place since about 1990." Our subsequent more extensive interviews of Rightmyer confirm this. We reviewed copies of all of the memoranda of the interviews conducted by ATF prior to Magaw's appearance and could find no evidence supporting this assertion. We can only surmise that events were happening very quickly at that time, frequent, hurried oral briefings were being conducted up the chain of command, and in that confusion impressions were formed that went beyond what we found during our investigation. ] By 1987 no more than 15 percent of the attendees were employed by federal law enforcement agencies; at least half did not work for any law enforcement agency at all. We identified two minority attendees: the Filipino who had attended previously and a Hispanic DEA agent. The latter agent recalls seeing and speaking to other Hispanics and several blacks at the 1987 Roundup, the only year he attended, but he was unable to identify who these people were. Another DOJ attendee claimed that he saw a black IRS agent whom he identified by name; that agent denied going to any Roundups.

1987 T-shirt (back)
Fig. 15

1987 T-shirt (front)
Fig. 14

A Homewood, Alabama, police officer won the Redneck of the Year title by telling funny stories. In later years this individual became known as the "Emperor for Life." [/ The title "Emperor for Life" was not an official position at the Roundup. We are told that after his term as president he wanted to be president again but was told he could not do that. He then decided he wanted to be known as Emperor for Life and the name stuck. It was clear from our interviews that this moniker was not intended to confer any exalted status on this individual. Indeed, we found many who considered this person and his notoriety for engaging in inappropriate acts an embarrassment to the Roundup. Others, however, thought he was very funny and enjoyed his antics. ] One of the more memorable skits this year involved a person eating a whole raw fish that had been soaked in beer. An ATF agent was elected Roundup president. The official T-shirt had a drawing of an overcrowded tent, which reflected the Roundup's growth beyond the main campground into adjoining fields that also had to be rented.

Although one Confederate flag was spotted at the 1987 Roundup, we obtained no information as to who was responsible or why it was displayed. We do not have any reason to believe that anyone suggested that the flag should be taken down. We received conflicting views on whether display of this flag conveys a racist message. [ / This lack of concurrence was recently noted by a federal judge who dismissed a constitutional challenge to the Georgia state flag. Regardless of the displayer's intent, however, its display is extremely offensive to many, particularly to African Americans. ]