II. The OIG Investigation of the Good O' Boy Roundup
A story in the Washington Times on July 11, 1995, first brought widespread public attention to allegations of racist activities at the Good O' Boy Roundup. [ / See, Jerry Seper, Racist Ways Die Hard at Lawmen's Retreat, The Washington Times, July 11, 1995, at A1. A copy of the entire article is contained in the appendix to this report, Section B, at 1. Jeffrey Randall, a militia member and one of the sources for the Washington Times article, had previously made allegations of racism at the Roundup in an article in the June 1995 edition of the Gadsden Minutemen Newsletter, a publication of an Alabama militia that was posted on the Internet. In the newsletter, Randall alleged, inter alia, to have a video taken at a Roundup showing a "nigger check point" sign and stated that ATF agents had participated in a skit portraying a KKK member and a "slave" in blackface. He said this information had been obtained as "the result of an investigation on the matter of racism within the BATF." A copy of this newsletter is contained in the appendix to this report, Section C, at 45. Although this militia publication did not receive public attention, it was brought to the attention of the ATF Inspections Division on June 5, 1995. In a memorandum to the file dated June 8, 1995, the Assistant Director of Inspections wrote that the author of the article was not credible because of his involvement with the Gadsden militia, a group known to be hostile to the ATF. Consequently, the ATF took no further formal steps to investigate the allegations until July 11, 1995, when the Washington Times article appeared. ] The article contained a broad range of allegations, from a supposed general "policy" limiting attendance only to whites to more specific instances of racism, such as racist signs and T-shirts. As sources of the allegations, the reporter cited Jeffrey Randall and an unnamed "former Alabama police official," whom our investigation revealed to be Richard Hayward. [ / Randall is a founder and leader of the Gadsden Minutemen, a militia formed in the Gadsden, Alabama, area in 1994. He is part owner of a machine shop business in Alabama. Richard Hayward is a former Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officer and a former prison guard in Alabama and Michigan. He is currently retired on disability from his position as a prison guard in Michigan. Hayward also is a member of the Gadsden militia. ] The only law enforcement agency mentioned in the article was the ATF; indeed, the subheading of the article stated, "Annual 'Good O' Boys Roundup' cited as evidence of 'Klan attitude' at ATF." Hayward, quoted
anonymously, alleged that a "majority" of the participants identified themselves as ATF agents. [ / Randall and Hayward went to the 1995 Roundup in an effort to gather information and take photographs of racist activities at the Roundup as part of "Operation Achilles Heel," a militia plan formulated specifically to discredit ATF. An article in Media Bypass describes this plan at length. A copy of this article is contained in the appendix to this report, Section B, at 13. ]
The afternoon the Washington Times article appeared, Hayward appeared on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show to discuss what he had allegedly observed at the Roundup. [ / We attempted to obtain a copy of a tape recording of this show but the radio station informed us that it did not maintain a copy and could not provide us with one. We learned that Hayward has a recording of the show, but he failed to provide a copy to us in response to our subpoena for any materials relating to the Roundup. Hayward told us that this appearance was arranged by the Washington Times reporter responsible for that morning's exposť of the Roundup. ] At 11 p.m. that same day, WJLA-TV (Channel 7) in Washington, D.C., featured a story about the Roundup which began by stating, "Every year federal agents and local police from around the country get together for what's known as the Good O' Boy Roundup, an event that looks more like the beginnings of a Klan rally than a gathering of officers sworn to uphold the law." The story cited the presence of Confederate flags and racial slurs on a sign as evidence of racism at the Roundup. The story also played a portion of a videotape claimed by the reporter to have been from the 1995 Roundup which showed a sign reading, "Nigger check point." [ / Our investigation revealed that the reporter mistakenly identified the video as being from the 1995 Roundup. In fact, it was taken at the 1990 Roundup by Hayward, who had attended several Roundups prior to 1995 as a registered attendee. ] This sign had been described in the Washington Times article.
The following day, July 12, an onslaught of print, radio, and television publicity repeated the allegations made in the Washington Times article and broadcast on WJLA-TV. As these allegations received attention, more assertions of misconduct at the Roundup surfaced. The rest of this section of the report describes those allegations and the investigative steps taken to ascertain their truth.