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Black City Workers Say Mayor Fired Them|Unfairly, & Bragged About Klan Membership

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (CN) - The mayor of Centerville "constantly made comments about how he had to get to his Klan meeting" and threatened to burn a cross in a white councilwoman's yard after she accused him of discriminating against black employees, two former employees claim in Federal Court.

Roy Jackson and Devie McLaughlin say Mayor Julius Dalton Murphy "boasted about going to Ku Klux Klan meetings and has been seen wearing a Klan outfit."

The men say that at a City Council meeting in 2007 at which the firing of several black city employees, including the plaintiffs, was discussed, "One white councilwoman said she thought the [sic] Mayor Murphy's firing of those employees was racially motivated because Mayor Murphy constantly made comments about how he had to get to his Klan meeting, and used the 'N' word to refer to African-Americans.

"Mayor Murphy responded to the councilwoman's accusations by threatening her, stating, 'Well, maybe you need a cross burned in your yard.'"

Both men were paid slightly more than minimum wage before they were fired.

Jackson says the mayor fired his entire crew except for the single white man on it, because they allegedly had not watered some flowers. But Jackson says the flowers didn't need it because it had rained the night before.

The plaintiffs seek reinstatement, lost wages and damages for discrimination, retaliation and civil rights violations. They are represented by Jon C. Goldfarb of Birmingham.

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