Slidell worker fired over noose incident

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — A City of Slidell employee was fired Tuesday after he failed to attend a disciplinary hearing to answer charges that he hung a paper figure from a noose fashioned from electrical wire on city property, Mayor Ben Morris said.

The man, who officials have refused to name, will be notified by registered mail that he has been terminated, Morris said.

The employee, who was a grounds maintenance laborer in the city’s Public Operations department, was told to attend Tuesday’s hearing to answer the charges and faced punishment that could have included losing his job.

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City Attorney Tim Mathison said he didn’t want to give the man’s name for fear it would jeopardize the FBI’s ongoing investigation into whether the incident rises to the level of a hate crime.

The employee, who is white, has been absent from work since last week following an initial Civil Service hearing to deal with an unrelated altercation with his supervisor, who is black. At that hearing he received a three-day suspension without pay, but not apparently before constructing the noose in an old work barn on city property. The man used white paper to make a paper doll to hang from the noose, officials have said.

The FBI visited the work barn last Thursday after receiving a call from the city and interviewed several employees, said Morris.


Information from: The Times-Picayune,