The Anniston Police Department in Alabama knowingly employs neo-Confederate sympathizers, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports.
This story has been updated. Please see below.
Josh Doggrell is a Lieutenant on the force. He is also the founder and chair of his area League of the South chapter. The League of the South (LOS) is a white supremacist organization that calls for southern states to secede and establish a Christian theocratic state run by “Anglo-Celtics.” Doggrell has belonged to the group since 1995.
During a 2013 LOS meeting, Doggrell told the gathered crowd that his supervisors at the department were not only aware of his racist affiliations, they actively agreed with them.
"The vast majority of men in uniform are aware that they’re southerners,” Doggrell said from the podium. “And kith and kin comes before illegal national mandates.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the concept of kith and kin comes from "an explicitly racist ideology called 'kinism,' which calls for "laws against racial intermarriage, an end to non-white immigration, expelling all 'aliens' ('to include all Jews and Arabs'), and restricting the right to vote to white, landholding men over the age of 21."
"I went in and told the chief last year," Doggrell told the assembly of white supremacists, in recounting his no-secrets policy at work about his LOS affiliation, "I’m not going to sell out my position with the League, as something I believe in strongly. If it came down to it, I’d choose the League.”
"Is there anything you want to ask me?" Doggrell wanted to know of his supervisor.
"You just answered every question I have... We pretty much think like you do," Doggrell's chief reportedly replied.
Doggrell's colleague, Wayne Brown, attended the LOS meeting as well and also currently serves as a Lietuenant with the Anniston police.
The Southern Poverty Law Center recently learned of video footage from the 2013 meeting, which the Southern Nationalist Network originally posted two years ago. The civil rights advocacy group promptly alerted the Anniston police, who referred the matter to the city manager, Brian Johnson. Johnson said a police officer shouldn’t be fired for belonging to a hate group, even if they belong to 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," Johnson says, "as hateful as the KKK might be."
On the League of the South's website, Doggrell's biography says he has been a "peace officer in his home city/county for sixteen years."
Update, 6:01 p.m. EST: The Anniston Star reported on Wednesday evening that Doggrell and Brown were suspended following the report by the SPLC.
"Lt. Brown and Lt. Doggrell do not speak for the city of Anniston nor the Anniston Police Department," officials said in a statement. "The city of Anniston has commenced an investigation into this matter and will work diligently to ensure the appropriate action is taken."
City council member David Reddick said he was not aware of the two officers' ties to the League of the South before the report.
"In a post-Trayvon Martin society it creates a whole new set of challenges, when you have a city that’s over 50 percent minority that has to deal with someone that’s a part of an organization that doesn’t like them because of their identity," he said.
Watch an Alabama cop brag to neo-Confederate allies about support for their cause within the local police department: