Another deputy to appeal firing today
Athens Banner-Herald/February 19, 2007
By Joe Johnson
A former Clarke County jailer and black supremacist cult member
apparently will argue for his job back today, though an appeals
officer earlier this month refused to reinstate another deputy
fired at the same time.
Anthony Montgomery did not withdraw his appeal, even after
former deputy and fellow sect member William York's appeal was
denied Feb. 7, according to attorney Denny Galis, a personnel
hearing officer for Athens-Clarke County.
Montgomery, a former corporal at the Clarke County jail, is
expected to show up this morning to make his case in a hearing at
the Department of Human Resources building on Satula Avenue, Galis
In November, Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards fired four
deputies affiliated with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors and
allowed a fifth to resign after an internal affairs investigation
concluded they undermined jail security and broke policy by
recruiting inmates into their cult.
All four fired deputies appealed, and York was the first to
have an appeals hearing. Montgomery's will be the second.
Despite a laundry list of policy violations, most of which
concerned Nuwaubian-related activities while on the job, Galis
upheld York's termination on two grounds: He tried to manipulate a
polygraph test and couldn't be contacted while on paid
Galis would not comment on his decision last week, other than
to say, "It is what it is."
But Galis may have avoided the deputy's connections with the
Nuwaubians, instead focusing on other, non-religious complaints
about his job performance, according to Athens attorney Penn
Dodson, who specializes in labor and employment law.
"A lot of it might be (Galis) not wanting to get into the
entanglements as to whether a policy itself might violate some
kind of religious rights," Dodson said. "He may have thought, 'If
there are a couple of reasons (for firing the deputies) that are
legitimate with no potential grounding in religion, then let's
just deal with those and not get bogged down in the quagmire of
controversy on whether the policy implicated religious practices
The Nuwaubians' leader, Dwight "Malachi" York, is serving a
135-year federal prison sentence after he was convicted of
racketeering, money laundering, multiple counts of child
molestation and other charges.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Nuwaubians as a
"black separatist" hate group, and said Dwight York "claimed at
various times to be a space alien and God in the flesh."
York had a mansion in Athens and his followers lived in a
sprawling compound in Putnam County where, according to the SPLC,
"York told his followers they were building a sovereign nation
where they would be free from the influence of white 'devils.' "
Some of the former deputies used to be police officers in
Macon, and quit their jobs there because city officials wouldn't
investigate their claims that a conspiracy led to Dwight York's
At the Clarke County Jail, Nuwaubian deputies urged inmates to
rebel against white deputies and ridiculed inmates for their
Christian or Muslim beliefs, according to the internal
The sheriff's investigation determined Montgomery broke a
policy when he wrote letters to the Nuwaubian leader at a maximum
security prison in Colorado, but the report also cited a host of
policies and sheriff's codes of conduct that the deputies
violated. Among other things, according to the internal
investigation report, the deputies didn't keep personal activities
separate from professional duties, weren't truthful, neglected
duties, associated with criminals, harassed or discriminated
against inmates and distributed literature to prisoners.
Though the appeal for his job was denied, William York can turn
to civil court, but the burden to prove he was wrongfully fired is
higher in court, Dodson said.
"The chances of a successful appeal (are) generally diminished
at every level of appeal," Dodson said. "Generally, a lot of
deference is given to lower courts, unless there's something
glaringly wrong or the judge just misunderstood the law."
Two other former deputies, Rena Jennings and Bobby Dixon, are
scheduled for administrative appeals hearings next month. The
deputy who was allowed to resign in lieu of termination, Leon
Adams, did not request a hearing.