Nebraska court upholds firing of state trooper for KKK affiliation

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nebraska [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that Robert Henderson will not be reinstated as a state trooper for the Nebraska State Patrol [official website] because of his membership in the Knights Party [advocacy website], a political group associated with the KKK. Justice John M. Gerrard [official profile] wrote:

Nebraska public policy precludes an individual from being reinstated to serve as a sworn officer in a law enforcement agency if that individual's service would severely undermine reasonable public perception that the agency is uniformly committed to the equal enforcement of the law and that each citizen of Nebraska can depend on law enforcement officers to enforce the law without regard to race.
Henderson had joined the Knights Party in 2004 and posted on their online forum. In 2006, the State Patrol launched an investigation into his activities and Henderson's dismissal shortly followed. The Nebraska State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council, the representative for Nebraska state troopers, filed a grievance on Henderson's behalf which resulted in arbitration. Friday's ruling affirmed the district court's decision vacating the arbitration award in favor of Henderson's reinstatement.

The US has recently experienced a resurgence [JURIST report] of hate groups such as the KKK, possibly related to increased public attention to immigration issues. The resurgence is in spite of dwindling Klan membership and the continuing prosecution and conviction of Klan members [JURIST report] for hate crimes.


 

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