Prison Officer Fired for KKK Membership Sues Arkansas Correction Department

MAY 24, 2005 - Posted at 7:54 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A former prison official who was fired for belonging to the Ku Klux Klan has filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court claiming his civil rights were violated.

Willis Frazier was fired as correctional officer at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Lee County in August 2004, two months after he was hired.  Warden Greg Harmon wrote a termination letter saying Frazier was fired because he was a member of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The department discovered Frazier's membership in the KKK from an October 2003 newspaper story about a Klan demonstration in Cabot.  Frazier was pictured in Klan regalia and identified himself as Arkansas Grand Dragon of Keystone Knights.

Frazier's lawsuit said his firing violated his right to free speech, free association and religious liberty under the U.S. and state constitutions.  He has asked for compensatory pay and his old job back at his previous seniority level.

Prison regulations forbid any employee from belonging to a white supremacy group, street gangs  or prison gangs.  Prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler said at least three prison officials have been fired over the last decade for belonging to mostly black gangs, like the Los Angeles-based Crips.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)