Wednesday, October 25, 2006
From siouxcityjournal.com/talkleft.com: A fired state trooper's link to a white supremacist group has placed Nebraska in the middle of a debate over individual rights and ensuring police fairness.
An arbitrator ruled in August that state trooper Robert Henderson should get his job back, but officials at the State Patrol and capitol promise to fight, setting the stage for a courtroom battle this month in Lincoln. Both sides filed briefs in the court case on Friday.
A secret State Patrol investigation found that Henderson had joined the Knights Party, which has ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Henderson acknowledged his membership to investigators and admitted posting messages on the group's members-only Web site. He later resigned from the group and apologized to the State Patrol's commander before termination.
The state should prevail, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project, which has been tracking hate groups since 1981. "The law is clear on this," Potok said. "He can be fired for this."
Yet arbitrator Paul J. Caffera cited several court rulings that say public employees and law enforcement officers don't have to give up their Constitutional rights when they accept the job. He also faulted the State Patrol's internal investigation and said the agency didn't follow its contract.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]