Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

a) The Jack Scott confrontation

Jack Scott, an agent in ATF's Chattanooga office, alleged that several men confronted him about having brought blacks to the Roundup.

(i) Evidence

Scott had been attending the Roundup since 1991. He had frequently invited his partner, Cordell Malone, who is black, to go to the Roundup with him. Malone had been unable to attend until 1995. On Thursday evening, May 18, Scott, Malone, Robert Goldston -- a black police officer from Cleveland, Tennessee -- and others had been together at a local bar called the Main Event and then headed to the campground. They drove in without incident and began socializing among the crowd. Rightmyer came up to Malone and welcomed him to the Roundup and told him that if there were any problems to come see him.

At some point Goldston had been walking through the campground and heard someone use the word "nigger." He told Scott, who went searching to find the responsible person. Scott did not find him. Goldston reported that he stayed late at the campground and did not leave because of any remarks. Sometime later Scott was near the beer truck when a retired Fort Lauderdale police officer came up to him and said, "I hope you are happy. ATF fucks up everything they touch; ATF is a fucked up agency. Now you are bringing niggers to the Roundup. We have to deal with them on the job, and we did not want to deal with them here." [ / This officer was a member of the MOB. Other MOB members came up to break up the confrontation and openly challenged this officer's views. ] There was a group of four or more officers who crowded in on Scott and joined in the taunting. Two of these officers were also retired Fort Lauderdale police officers. [ / These three retired officers refused our requests for an interview. In addition to calling these men, we wrote them a letter indicating that they had been identified as being part of the incident and giving them an opportunity to respond to the allegations. We did not receive any response. ] One current Fort Lauderdale officer was also identified as being part of the group. One local sheriff's deputy also identified Richard Hayward as being present in the group and using the word "nigger." [ / He did not identify Hayward by name but rather gave a description that matches Hayward's appearance and indicated that he had seen him on news programs about the Roundup as the person responsible for the videotape. Hayward denied being at the Roundup before Friday May 19. Hayward's cellular telephone records, however, indicate that he received a call on the evening of May 18 outside his cellular "home area." Tennessee would have been outside his home area. We also found several witnesses who claim to have seen a person who looks like Randall in the bunkhouse at the campground on May 16, before the Roundup officially opened. Furthermore, the July 11 Washington Times article quotes Randall as saying he saw black agents being turned away, which would place him in the campground on May 18. ]

Several people intervened and broke up the argument. Rightmyer was not in the campground at the time but was informed of the altercation when he arrived at the campground early the next morning. He claimed he went over to the Fort Lauderdale camp and told the officers that blacks were welcome at the Roundup and that if they did not like it, they could leave. Rightmyer said he left the campground to run an errand and when he returned, several of the Fort Lauderdale officers had left. [ / It is not clear which officers left on Friday. We heard conflicting reports of who stayed and who left. Some others left early Saturday morning as well. All of the Fort Lauderdale officers we interviewed claimed no one left until Saturday morning and that they left either because of loud music or because they had other plans to raft elsewhere that day. They also claimed they had not heard anything about a racist confrontation between their officers and anyone. Some claimed the confrontation was about someone without a wristband and some said it had to do with loud music. While there was a subsequent confrontation with some people about loud music, their claims of lack of knowledge regarding the racist confrontation are not credible. Even Hayward claimed that the Fort Lauderdale officers were discussing the incident on Friday. ]

Many witnesses recalled Rightmyer giving a speech to the entire group sometime on Friday afternoon in which he declared that everyone in law enforcement was welcome to attend the Roundup. He said that the color of their skin did not matter; if they wore a badge, "they were blue." He also told the crowd that if anyone disagreed, they should come see him, and he would give them a complete refund, and they could leave. Numerous witnesses said that many people in the crowd applauded. Several witnesses claimed that a small number of people booed.

Jeffrey Randall claimed that a number of participants told him they had decided not to return to the Roundup the next year because they did not want to be around black agents. Hayward told us that he and Randall went to the Fort Lauderdale campsite and spoke to people there, which a friend of Hayward's confirmed. If, as these accounts suggest, Randall spent some time talking to the Fort Lauderdale officers who were responsible for the confrontation with Scott the previous night, it would not be surprising that he spoke with persons who did not want blacks at the Roundup. [ / Randall was escorted into the campground by Hayward. Hayward had called a friend from Fort Lauderdale in advance and told him that he had a friend who was interested in talking about some unrelated business. Hayward and Randall came to the Fort Lauderdale group's campsite to find Hayward's friend. Hayward, Hayward's friend, and Randall spoke for awhile but never discussed the business in which the friend was supposedly interested. This individual identified Randall as Hayward's companion at the Roundup. ]

(ii) OIG findings

We find credible the allegations that persons were confronted at the Roundup and taunted for bringing African Americans to the Roundup. Jack Scott is a particularly credible witness, and other witnesses have provided corroborating accounts of the incident involving Cordell Malone. Based on Scott's and other witnesses' photo identifications, we also conclude that, at a minimum, three retired and one current Fort Lauderdale police officers were responsible for this incident.