Deputy reinstated after being fired for ties to Nuwaubians

Athens, USA - A deputy who had been fired because of ties to the Nuwaubian religious sect has been allowed to return to work after a personnel hearing officer overturned the sheriff's decision to fire him.

Deputy Bobby Dixon returned to his job at the Clarke County Jail last week, officials said.

Dixon was one of four deputies who were fired in November after an investigation found they violated jail policies and conduct codes through on-the-job activities connected with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Nuwaubians as a black hate group. The leader of the group, Dwight "Malachi" York, is serving a 135-year federal prison sentence after being convicted in 2004 of racketeering, money laundering and having sex with the children of his followers.

The fired deputies were accused of recruiting jail inmates into the religious sect and urging prisoners to rebel against white deputies.

Dixon successfully appealed to be reinstated during a March 5 hearing before Athens-Clarke County Personnel Hearing Officer Denny Galis.

The sheriff's office fired Dixon because he failed to remove a sign from an inmate's cell that had to do with the inmate's Nuwaubian beliefs. Galis ruled that a superior officer could have taken action against Dixon but did not.

Galis ruled March 23 that although Dixon violated two jail policies, he should be disciplined, not fired.

County Human Resources Director Harry Owens said Dixon served a 10-day suspension without pay and was allowed to return to work last week.

Despite reinstating Dixon, Galis upheld the decision to fire two other deputies.

Galis upheld one deputy's termination, finding that William York tried to manipulate a polygraph test and could not be reached while on paid administrative leave.

The hearing officer also upheld the firing of Anthony Montgomery, saying he flagrantly disregarded jail policy by writing to Dwight York.

A fourth former deputy has an appeal hearing scheduled for June 12.