Sheriff fires 4 deputies after
investigating Nuwaubian link
Associated Press/November 23, 2006
Athens, Georgia - An investigation into whether five deputies
violated jail policy because of their connection to the United
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors religious sect has resulted in the
firing of four deputies and the resignation of a fifth, Clarke
County Sheriff Ira Edwards said.
"The investigation revealed varied policy violations which
undermined the safety and security of the jail," Edwards said.
Edwards would not say who the deputies were or specify what
policies were violated.
But an Aug. 17 report by the sheriff's Internal Investigations
Unit identified the deputies as Cpl. Anthony Montgomery and
deputies Rena Jennings, Leon Adams, William York and Bobby Nixon.
The report, which was obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald
through a state Open Records Act request, said some of the
deputies encouraged "inmates to rebel against white deputies" and
"not to give black officers problems."
The report said inmates who embraced Nuwaubian beliefs were
given preferential treatment by the jailers who shared those
Edwards' investigation included investigating claims that the
deputies recruited prisoners into the sect. The sheriff's office
looked into claims that at least one deputy stayed in touch with
Dwight "Malachi" York, the leader of the predominantly black sect
who is currently serving a 135-year federal prison sentence.
The five deputies were placed on administrative leave in July.
Two other deputies resigned after former jail commander Brett
Hart, started to investigate Nuwaubian activities.
Hart and other jailers said they thought Nuwaubian activities
undermined safety at the jail and some white deputies worried that
black colleagues might take the side of a black prisoner if a
fight broke out along racial lines.
The internal report supported Hart's concerns.
"Certain deputies who hold the Nuwaubian beliefs have become
upset when inmates make fun of Nuwaubiansa and Malachi York, which
causes a disruption in their ability to supervise and control
inmates," the report said. "Deputies are expressing serious
concern that something is going to happen and they will not have
proper or prompt backup. This is a real concern of deputies that
are working now and the deputies that have left. This environment
is having a high impact on morale and retention."
Hart started an internal investigation in March when the U.S.
Bureau of Prisons informed him the federal maximum security prison
in Colorado had intercepted a letter from a Clarke County deputy
York was sentenced in April 2004 for molesting 14 boys and
girls whose parents were members of his group. York founded the
religious sect in New York in the late 1960s and moved it to rural
Putnam County in 1993.