Senior Treasury officials are investigating reports that federal agents took part in an annual “Good O’ Boys Roundup,” a weekend of activities with racial trappings for off-duty police officers.
John Magaw, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said Tuesday he would have “zero tolerance” for any ATF officers who might have participated in the activities. His boss, Treasury Undersecretary Ron Noble, said, “This kind of behavior has no place in ATF or law enforcement generally.”
Magaw said he was investigating indications that as many as 12 current and former ATF employees were involved in the May 18-20 event.
The Washington Times, quoting anonymous law enforcement officers, said the gathering included the sale of T-shirts with Martin Luther King’s face behind a target, O.J. Simpson in a hangman’s noose and white police officers with a black man sprawled across the hood of their car under the words “Boyz on the Hood.”
The event, held in Ocoee, Tenn., was described as an annual affair designed to allow police from across the country relax.
Magaw said the gathering is organized by former ATF agent Gene Rightmyer and has, at times, been purely recreational - with no racial overtones.
He said two current agents - one black, one white - attended this year’s event to play volleyball, but left after realizing the black agent was not welcome.
The agency is facing a federal lawsuit filed by black agents who contend ATF supervisors have done little to address complaints of racial slurs, harassment and other discrimination.
Magaw said it would be against the law to use ATF facilities to organize such an event.