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Nebraska court hears case of former trooper with KKK ties

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  • Nebraska court hears case of former trooper with KKK ties

    Published Wednesday September 3, 2008
    Nebraska court hears case of former trooper with KKK ties
    BY MARTHA STODDARD
    WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

    LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court heard more arguments today about whether a Nebraska State Patrol trooper should get his job back after being fired for joining a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan.

    Assistant Attorney General Tom Stine said reinstating Robert Henderson of Omaha would create public distrust and fear of the agency, no matter whether he was put on patrol or assigned to work in a supply closet.

    Henderson's attorney, Vincent Valentino, called on the high court to uphold the decision of an arbitrator that Henderson should be returned to the force. Valentino said the court should not create a public policy exception to binding arbitration when the Legislature has not done so.

    The case is on appeal after Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront upheld the firing, ruling that Henderson's membership in the Knights Party had violated "well-defined and dominant" state policy against discrimination.

    The Nebraska Supreme Court originally heard arguments in the case March 4.

    The court then asked for a second round of oral arguments to focus on four issues: collective bargaining agreements, constitutional rights, binding arbitration and legal precedent.

    The State Patrol fired Henderson, an 18-year trooper, for joining the Knights Party, which describes itself as the oldest, largest and most-active Klan organization in the United States.

    The firing followed an internal investigation that confirmed Henderson joined the party in 2004 and had posted four messages to an online discussion group for party members. He said he joined as a way to vent his frustrations over his wife leaving him for a Hispanic man.

    Henderson appealed his firing to an independent arbitrator in 2006, as allowed by the collective bargaining agreement covering state troopers.

    The arbitrator said Henderson's firing violated his First Amendment and due process rights.

    Attorney General Jon Bruning, in appealing the arbitrator's ruling, said state government's public policy against racism should bar Henderson from being reinstated.

    Henderson also faces the potential loss of his law enforcement certificate. The Police Standards Advisory Council is waiting for the Supreme Court to rule before scheduling a hearing on a complaint filed by State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha.
    Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

  • #2
    I see both sides, while I think he has done nothing wrong or immoral, I think this affilliation would destroy his abillity to do the job and call every arrest he ever does into question in court.

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