It was their white-nationalist hobby that cost them their jobs.
On Friday, Wayne Brown and Josh Doggrell, police lieutenants in Anniston, Alabama, were forced to leave the department after a blog post by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the two men belonged to a white-supremacist “Southern independence” organization. Anniston officials held a press conference to announce that Doggrell had been fired, and that Brown would retire.
Last Wednesday, the SPLC blog “Hatewatch” posted video of Doggrell delivering a speech at a conference for the League of the South—a neo-Confederate group—in 2013, during which he addressed gun rights and his love for the League. (Doggrell mentions that Brown is in the audience.) “It’s always wonderful to go back and show my bosses all the radicals that I cavort with on the weekends,” Doggrell says in the video.
“[Brown once] asked me, ‘What is the magic bean that would arouse our people to see exactly what was happening to them and how necessary the step of secession is?’” Doggrell recounts in his remarks.
According to Hatewatch, Doggrell wrote a Facebook post in March that read, “When ‘minorities’ become the majority, why do we still call them minorities?” His Facebook account appears to have since been deactivated. Hatewatch also notes that Doggrell claims during a Q&A session at the conference that his police chief once told him, “we [at this department] pretty much think like you do.”
The Anniston Police Department did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment regarding Doggrell’s account.
When the SPLC alerted city officials to Doggrell’s association with the League, the news was initially met with shrugs. Hatewatch then asked Anniston city manager Brian Johnson what would be done if, hypothetically, a cop was found palling around with the Ku Klux Klan. “I do not believe that someone could be terminated solely based on their private sector membership in a properly formed legal organization–as hateful as the KKK might be,” Johnson replied. (Shortly after the story ran, the lieutenants were suspended and city officials opened an investigation into Brown and Doggrell’s associations with the League.)
As for the League of the South, which unveiled a billboard in Tallahassee, Florida, last year encouraging secession in ALL CAPS, it is exactly as charming as you’d think. Following renewed debate over the Confederate flag following the racist mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, the League’s leader Michael Hill wrote a post calling for the removal of the American flag instead.
“We in The League of the South agree that a flag should be taken down,” he wrote on Friday. “Not the most recognizable historic flag of the South but the flag of our occupiers for the last 150 years. ... That ugly gridiron now stands for multiculturalism, tolerance, and diversity—the left’s unholy trinity. It also stands for Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal, and every other fraud and pervert who is held up as an example of ‘courage’ in 2015 America.”
Earlier this year, he wrote about how a “race war in America would be a bad idea for negroes.”
The League of the South did not return a phone call from The Daily Beast. The organization’s voicemail greeting ends, “God save the South.”