‘In plain sight’: Dianne Hart calls on FBI to weed out white extremist Florida prison workers
Dianne Hart.

dianne hart
“There are officers (in) gangs and white supremacy groups that have positions of leadership within prisons around the state."

Democratic state Rep. Dianne Hart isn’t shocked by today’s Associated Press report on a failed murder plot of a Black former inmate by Ku Klux Klan members, some of whom worked as state corrections officers.

She’s only shocked by how little has been done so far to address the issue, and she now plans to call in the FBI to “conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and give recommendations to the Florida Legislature,” she said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“I have long asked (Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch), to no avail, to conduct an investigation into this problem because so many of these individuals hide in plain sight,” she said. “Due to the reported interest in this issue by the federal government, I will now be asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and give recommendations to the Florida Legislature.”

Hart, who represents parts of Hillsborough County, including Tampa, said she has heard from state corrections officers, inmates and families about the how the problem has spread throughout the state prison system.

“There are officers (in) gangs and white supremacy groups that have positions of leadership within prisons around the state,” she said. “Unfortunately, I can’t say that I am surprised by this reporting.”

The report Hart referenced centers on an attempted revenge murder scheme several KKK members began devising in 2013. Putnam County resident Warren Williams, who had gotten into a fight with klansman and corrections officer Thomas Driver while Williams was incarcerated, was the target.

Driver, fellow corrections officer David Moran, and former prison guard Charles Newcomb concocted the plot, which undercover FBI informant Joseph Moore foiled.

A jury convicted Moran and Newcomb of conspiracy to commit first degree murder and sentenced them to 12 years in prison in August 2017. A three-judge panel turned down their appeal two years later.

Driver, who pleaded guilty and got a four-year sentence, is due out this year.

White supremacists pose a “persistent threat of lethal violence” and have been behind more killings than any other domestic terrorist group since 2000, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint May 2017 report.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told U.S. senators in March that “racially motivated violent extremism,” mostly by white supremacists, accounts for the most rapidly rising share of domestic terrorism cases, the AP reported.

And there is a pervasive effort by white nationalist extremists to infiltrate police and corrections departments, researchers, legal experts and federal law enforcement personnel warn.

“White supremacist groups have historically engaged in strategic efforts to infiltrate and recruit from law enforcement,” an FBI document released by a congressional committee in September said.

But despite warnings, reports and actual convictions stemming from white hate groups permeating police and corrections departments — as well as vehicles outside the Lake Butler prison where the three klansmen worked still sporting symbols associated with white supremacy, including Confederate flags, QAnon symbols and Thin Blue Line flag decals — the Florida Department of Corrections’ official line on the matter is that it’s not a serious enough problem to warrant a broad investigation.

The Florida Department of Corrections found no other “investigational leads,” spokesperson Michelle Glady told the AP. “However, any allegation of a staff member belonging to a group such as those mentioned, would be investigated on an individual basis.”

Well, Hart isn’t taking their word for it.

“This is a pervasive problem in our state correctional system that needs to be addressed,” she said on Twitter. “I will be reaching out to Federal resources in hopes to deal with this issue.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


5 comments

  • SPV

    July 27, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Why does everyone have to make it about race? If that’s the case, there are just as many officers of OTHER colors that are in gangs and run different units within the Florida Prison system. Unfortunately, I’ve been in there. So where’s the story on those officers? Or is that ok as long as they are not white? This woman is a clown. Everyone cries they don’t want racism yet they stoke the fires every chance they get. If you don’t agree with me that’s fine that’s your right. But the truth is there are African American correctional officers, male and female, as well as Hispanic officers, male and female, who are undoubtedly in very well-known games and in positions of power and more than one prison in the State of Florida and I know this for a fact. But no it’s only the white officers. Give me a break. Go sit down

  • Shirley Garner

    July 27, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    It is a out race. The murders are a form or genocide. The last I look Black men were dying at an alarming rate. Especially at RMC Lake Butler. Inch what you gone do.

  • Junior

    July 28, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    Spv you go sit down somewhere how many Black officers are out there plotting to kill white boys??kkk’s and people like them are full of hate for no reason except for Fear.

  • M Mitchell

    July 29, 2021 at 10:09 am

    So an extremist bigot wants the FBI to weed out extremists. I am sick and tired of these bigots being held up as something noble. The media is complicit is propping up the modern day KKK, (BLM) as something good when it is nothing but evil. Bigotry and racism is alive and well and being promoted, it is just exactly backwards to what is being said in the news.

  • N

    August 9, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    I say this with lots of respect. Did you not know about the case that they beat up her brother in-law ? And when she reported it and brought it to the light, it was a black officer involved. She is not a clown she is a fighter. For so many years DOC has been getting away with murder and it hasn’t just been with Blacks it’s been with all kinds of nationality and this you should know cause you mention you was in there. In all these years when have you ever seen any House representative or senator fight for those that are incarcerated ‘?’!’ I can answer that for you, NEVER !!! Until she became a House Rep. please I’m not black but I can say that when we are in this, there is no color or race that over power one or another. Because the Blacks mention “racist” they are not wrong, they have been mistreated in all kinds of ways. And in this state Blacks have been sent up the road with more time then Whites.

Comments are closed.


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