Sheriff told to reinstate deputy in
Athens Banner-Herald, Georgia/March 28, 2007
By Joe Johnson
The Clarke County sheriff must reinstate a deputy he fired last
year for allegedly undermining jail security through his
involvement in a black supremacist cult.
While Bobby Dixon should be disciplined for two of the five
policy violations sheriff's officials cited when they fired him in
November, Dixon did not deserve to lose his job, personnel hearing
officer Denny Galis ruled.
Galis did not recommend what discipline the sheriff should
Dixon and three other deputies were fired after an internal
investigation determined they violated jail policies by
distributing literature from the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors,
recruiting inmates into the cult and urging inmates to rebel
against white deputies. A fifth deputy with Nuwaubian ties was
allowed to resign in lieu of termination.
Dixon should be disciplined for not returning a phone call
while he was on administrative leave and for having "general
conversations" with other deputies during a sheriff's internal
investigation into Nuwaubian activities at the Clarke County Jail,
An assistant county attorney representing the Clarke County
Sheriff's Office immediately notified Galis by fax that the county
would appeal the ruling, but Galis said in an interview that his
ruling is binding.
"Whatever they file, I'm going to respond to it, but as far as
I know, that's it," Galis said of his decision.
Galis, who has served as the county's personnel hearing officer
for several years, said the local government has never appealed
his decision to reinstate an employee.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Ira Edwards' office released a statement
Tuesday saying officials hope Galis will reconsider.
"Parties commonly ask for reconsideration when they contend
that a decision, for instance, has overlooked important
circumstances or contains errors that require a further review of
the record," the statement said.
The sheriff's office alleged that Dixon violated a code titled
"Be willing to act," because he failed to remove a sign from an
inmate's cell that had to do with the inmate's Nuwaubian beliefs.
But Galis said a superior officer could have taken action
against Dixon at that time, but did not.
"Deputy Dixon apparently overlooked this sign in his rounds and
another deputy removed it," Galis wrote in his decision. When a
supervisor confronted Dixon about not removing the sign, Galis
said, "This was an opportunity for some form of minor discipline,
but none was administered."
The sheriff's office also asserted that Dixon "caused a
disruption in his ability to supervise and control inmates" when
he pulled an inmate from his cell to berate him for mocking
Dixon's Nuwaubian beliefs.
During an internal investigation after the inmate filed a
grievance, a deputy who witnessed the exchange said Dixon
"followed protocol" because the inmate was being disruptive. The
deputy's statement was used to dismiss the grievance, yet wasn't
mentioned in the written reasons the sheriff's office gave for
firing Dixon, Galis said.
"Why that statement was omitted was never explained and remains
a mystery to me," Galis wrote. "Omitting an apparently key piece
of evidence from the disciplinary report, particularly one that
tends to exonerate the employee, does not substantially comply
with sound management principles and is not consistent with
policies and procedures of Athens-Clarke County."
Galis previously upheld the firings of former deputies William
York and Anthony Montgomery, and an appeals hearing for former
deputy Rena Jennings has not been scheduled.
Galis upheld York's termination, finding that he violated
policy when he tried to manipulate a polygraph test and couldn't
be contacted while on paid administrative leave.
When upholding Montgomery's termination, the hearings officer
said the former deputy flagrantly disregarded jail policy by
writing to the Nuwaubians' imprisoned leader, Dwight "Malachi"
York, who is serving a 135-year federal prison sentence for
convictions on child molestation, racketeering, money laundering
and other charges.