Ex-jail chief files complaint over
Athens Banner-Herald/July 18, 2006
By Joe Johnson
The former commander of the Clarke County Jail has filed a
complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
claiming he was fired because he is white and he pressed an
investigation into whether local jailers were recruiting prisoners
into a black separatist sect.
Brett Hart alleges in his complaint that "Caucasian employees,
including (myself), were treated worse than the black employees"
after Sheriff Ira Edwards, who is black, took office in January
The 45-year-old said Edwards' decision to fire him three months
ago was racially motivated and came as he was looking into
deputies' involvement in the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors
black supremacist sect and a "conspiracy by several (Nuwaubian)
deputies to introduce contraband into the jail."
"The Nuwaubians have been identified by local and federal law
enforcement authorities as a radical black separatist group with
links to organized crime," Hart said in his July 14 letter to the
EEOC. "As the investigation progressed, (I) met increasing
resistance from Sheriff Ira Edwards and his staff."
Edwards' spokesman, interim Chief Deputy Sheriff Jack Mitchell,
denied Hart's charges.
"Since this is an ongoing personnel matter, we cannot comment
on the specifics at this time," Mitchell said Monday. "Sheriff
Edwards denies the allegations, however, and emphasizes that
employment decisions made by the sheriff's office are without
regard to race, religion or other alleged protected
In November 2000, Edwards unseated white incumbent Jerry
Massey, who hired Hart.
Hart referred questions to his attorneys, who were out of state
Hart started an internal affairs investigation in early March,
after the Federal Bureau of Prisons informed him that a Clarke
deputy was corresponding with Dwight "Malachi" York, the Nuwaubian
leader who is serving a 135-year federal prison sentence. York was
convicted in 2004 on child molestation, racketeering, tax evasion
and other charges.
Two weeks after he was fired, Hart claims in the EEOC
complaint, "the jail deputy who had originally written to York
wrote a second letter to York wherein he admitted to smuggling
contraband into the jail for distribution to the black inmates on
behalf of York."
Hart also said, in a previous interview, that he verbally
reprimanded a deputy for giving a prisoner a York-authored book,
"Was Adam Black or White," which Hart deemed racially divisive,
and later found the book in the same prisoner's cell.
Over the past two months, the Clarke County grand jury also
apparently studied whether there was a connection between Edwards'
decision to fire Hart and Hart's investigation of Nuwaubian
influence at the jail.
The panel's report, filed Thursday, does not go into detail
about testimony of Nuwaubian activity at the jail but calls for an
independent body to continue to investigate.
Edwards defended the way his office investigated allegations of
"The sheriff's office is committed to a thorough and complete
investigation of these serious allegations and has no bias or
interest in favoring any group, religion or sect," Edwards said in
an official response to the grand jury's findings. "If policy
violations occurred, then any employee who commits such
infractions will be dealt with in a manner consistent with policy
and applicable law, and the Internal Affairs team has been
instructed to vigorously pursue the investigation."
The sheriff said an internal investigation into alleged
Nuwaubian activity has continued for several months, and that he
would welcome help from an outside agency, including the Georgia
Bureau of Investigation.
"Preliminary discussions have occurred with the GBI to evaluate
whether investigative assistance from that agency would be
appropriate and available," Mitchell said. "However, no decisions
or commitments by the GBI have been made."