Texas Officers Fired for Membership in KKK

ByABC News
June 20, 2001, 11:00 AM

A U S T I N, June 20 -- Two law enforcement officers in Williamson County, Texas, have been fired after it was discovered they were members of the Ku Klux Klan.

County Sheriff John Maspero said there was no evidence the two men, Deputy David Gay, 45, and Sgt. Greg Palm, 29, had committed any acts of discrimination or failed to perform their duties, but said membership in the notorious hate group was sufficient reason to dismiss them.

Officials said they found out the two men belonged to the Klan after they approached another officer and asked him to join.

"We have no complaints that we have documented in reference to either one of them as far as the way they handle their jobs," Maspero said. He insisted, however, that "regardless of how they did their job, the membership, in itself in fact, is enough, as far as I'm concerned as sheriff."

The sheriff's office has "no tolerance for discrimination or hatred," department spokeswoman Tracy Carol said.

Gay and Palm were suspended Friday and on Tuesday went before a review board, which voted unanimously to fire them.

The sheriff's office said it had not found any other officers involved with the Klan.

Their firing came on Juneteenth, as the June 19 anniversary of the day that Texas slaves learned they had been freed in 1865 is known, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

ABCNEWS' Michelle Fox in Austin contributed to this report.