Agents Discuss Alleged Racist Acts in Secret Service

ByABC News
August 30, 2000, 3:57 AM

Aug. 30 -- Current and former agents suing the Secret Service revealed evidence today they say shows the agency has condoned and refused to stop racist acts.

During a Washington press conference this morning, attorneys for the 10 African-American agents who filed a class-action civil lawsuit in May said the agency has demonstrated a pattern of failing to follow up on allegations of racial discrimination over the last 20 years. The lawsuit alleges the agency has discriminated against the black agents through hiring practices, assignments, lateral transfers, promotion opportunities and bonuses. Further, they said, agents who have complained of discrimination have faced retaliation.

The agents including those assigned to protect the president and vice president revealed some of their personal experiences at this mornings press conference.

Its Chilling

Robert Moore, who retired from the service in 1993 after 22 years, described an incident he said occurred in the Houston field office. While returning by car from an assignment with five colleagues, one agent, a former Houston cop, used the N-word while telling stories about his time on the police force, Moore said. When he complained to authorities in his field office, he said he was told not to be so thin-skinned.

My evaluations were downgraded, and I was given demeaning assignments until I left that office, Moore said. Its typical.

The attorneys played an audio tape of threats phoned in to a dedicated line at black agent Ken Banners home in Philadelphia in 1990. Only Banners colleagues knew the number, he says.

You little n, one tape said. You better leave Philly or youll never leavealive.

Its chilling for anybody to come home and hear that on a tape machine, much less on a tape machine dedicated to anemployer, attorney David J. Shaffer said.