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U.S. Seeks Videotape of Feds' Rally in Racism Probe

August 28, 1995| from Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is trying to obtain the original videotape that purports to show racist activities at a "Good Ol' Boys" rally for federal agents, a spokesman said Sunday.

"We're in discussions with lawyers to see about getting the original," Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern said.

The New York Times reported Sunday that the source of the tape and stories about racism at the roundup was Richard Hayward, a former Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., police officer. The newspaper said Hayward was upset when he was prevented from expressing his white supremacist views at the outings. According to the report, a disgruntled Hayward provided his tape to the National Rifle Assn. just as it was gearing up a membership drive attacking the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Justice Department has issued an administrative subpoena for the tape to the Gadsden Minutemen, a paramilitary group in Alabama, Stern said. Hayward said he gave the original tape to the group, the newspaper reported. Stern said investigators have suspected the original might have been a "montage" that it was edited.

"Obviously, if they won't produce the tape, that will lead to the implication that it's not on the up and up," Stern said. He declined to confirm the newspaper's reporting on Hayward. He also stopped short of saying Justice Department investigators doubted the tape's authenticity.

Civil rights leaders and the organizer of the annual roundups, a former ATF agent, have said they believe the 90-second tape may have been doctored.

On ABC-TV's "World News Tonight," Hayward denied releasing the tape as part of any vendetta. "I absolutely have no ax to grind. If I had an ax to grind or a grudge with them--this is a 1990 tape--why would I wait five years to display it?" he said.

When the tape surfaced last month, the Justice Department and Treasury Department investigated and the Senate Judiciary Committee had hearings on the event, which was held May 18-20 in eastern Tennessee this year.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who chaired the Judiciary Committee hearings last month, was traveling Sunday and could not be reached for comment.

Valerie Lau, inspector general for the Treasury Department, which is also investigating the Good Ol' Boys Roundups, declined Sunday to comment on the Times' report.

An NRA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the group had been approached with information about the Good Ol' Boys roundups but said that the source would identify himself only as George, which raised suspicions.

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