Nebraska’s KKK Time Bomb

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(Would you trust this Klansman/State Trooper to save your life?)

This is a good one folks.

Robert Henderson is 50 years old and has been employed with the Omaha Nebraska State Police as an officer for 18 years. Poor Henderson, who is white, contends his wife left him on January 13, 2003 for a “Hispanic,� man and then six months later she filed for a divorce.

How overwhelmed was he? He was so distraught that he decided to do what any sensible person would do – he joined the Ku Klux Klan in 2004. He paid $35 to join the Knights Party and he mused in his online posting, “Whites are loosing their rights slowly.  It’s sad.  I pray about it.  I hope my prayers get answered…� He used the screen name “White Knight in Ne.,� and elsewhere remarks to his new comrades, “I am the new guy from Nebraska. Just want to say hi. Hope everyone is doing good. Give me hints on how this works. THANKS!!!!� 

So a failed marriage negated all the training and the oath of office that Officer Henderson has sworn to uphold? Before joining the State troopers, where he was assigned to traffic patrol in Freemont, he had been an officer with the Nebraska Police Department (NPD) for five years: This all ads up to 23 years in law enforcement. All of this “professionalism,� out the window because his wife ran off with a “Hispanic� male. So the solution? Join a racist organization.

Trooper Henderson’s “prayers� were answered in an unexpected manner. His supervisor at work was contacted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and Henderson was confronted. He admitted to joining the KKK in 2004 and belonging to another white supremacist group called the “Knights Party Corporation.�

On March 3, 2006, Trooper Henderson was placed on paid investigatory suspension pending the completion of an administrative proceeding. After the completion of a probe he was terminated by Col. Bryan Tuma on March 15. “Being affiliated with a white supremacist organization is not consistent with the practices and policies of our agency,� was how Tuma put it.

On March 20, 2006, State Troopers Association of Nebraska (STAN) union president, Sgt. Glenn Elwell, appealed Henderson’s termination. The union’s attorney, Vincent Valentino, who says he has known Henderson for 12 years, had this to say, referring to Nebraska State police top brass: “I look at this purely as a First Amendment issue and a contract issue, and they screwed both of them up.�
After listening to the facts, Paul J. Caffera, an arbitrator, overturned Henderson’s termination. He has ordered the Nebraska State Police to reinstate Henderson within 60 days—which would be by the end of October—with back wages. This decision was, “based only on law.� 

I contacted Caffera by telephone but he did not want to answer any questions.  “I’m not going to be making any comments for the record on that particular case.  I’m not speaking to anyone,� he says. He did agree to my request to send some questions via e-mail message and that we’d “see what comes up.� I kept looking—nothing came up.

One of the questions I wanted him to answer was why, though he was said to be an attorney from New York, the Office of Court Administration Attorney Registration Unit (OCAARU), has no record of a Paul J. Caffera as a licensed attorney in the state of New York.

Nebraska governor Dave Heineman, Attorney General Jon Bruning and Col. Tuma all oppose Henderson’s continued employment with the Nebraska State Police. Who knows when he could be ordered to grab a white sheet by the KKK comrades, cover his head and run amuck. “This is not Birmingham. This is not 1960,� Bruning says, “We have no interest in having racists in our ranks—The First Amendment allows you to join disgusting groups, but it does not allow him to be employed by the state of Nebraska as a state trooper.�

Omaha State Senator Ernie Chambers adds: “I’m preparing a complaint with the appropriate state agency to revoke his law enforcement certification.  He had over a year to think about what he was doing.  It wasn’t something on the tail of heated emotions.  He thought about it, sort out this organization with the like minded, join and took the pledge.�

Bruning has filed an appeal in Lancaster County District Court in Nebraska to reverse the arbitrator’s decision. Will the court rule in favor of the First Amendment to reinstate Trooper Henderson, which may set a precedent and allow other federal, state and city employees to join terrorist groups such as the KKK? We’ll soon know.

The Omaha State Police has 394 Troopers assigned to Traffic-Road-Patrol and Henderson, who had no disciplinary record nor showed any bias on his traffic stops, was the only member with KKK ties, claims spokesperson, Deborah Collins. 

However, it makes me wonder. Maybe Henderson was the only one foolish enough to leave a trail online. The KKK continues to grow across this nation via the world-wide-web. It’s  amazing how a hate group that’s responsible for so many unsolved murders are not on Homeland Security’s terrorist watch list. Could it be that many high-ranking members of the U.S. government have sympathies –or direct ties – to the KKK? Kith and kin?

“Bob Henderson is not a racist. He wasn’t running around in a sheet and hood.  There are bigger racists out here than the ones in the KKK,� his attorney, Valentino claims. Somehow, I’m not reassured by Valentino. I feel for the people of Nebraska – and I fear some Black person or Latino who is confronted by Henderson should he be returned to active duty. Especially if they remind him of the man who ran off with his wife.

In the meantime, call Nebraska officials and tell them you’re outraged that Nebraska would even consider returning a ticking time bomb like Henderson to the force. State Senator Chambers: 402-471-2612; Governor Heineman’s office: 402-471-2244, and; Attorney General Bruning: 402-471-2068.

Stay tuned.

If you have any comments contact Winkfield or for his consideration regarding covering your own story. I focus on investigative cases. Write to Milton with more tips or call (212) 481-7745 or On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423 or email: [email protected].  Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about.

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