KKK Prison Workers Charged With Murder Plot

Members of the Ku Klux Klan salute at a gathering for the third Annual Hico KKK Rally in Hico, Texas, on Saturday, June 27, 1992. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

GAINESVILLE, Florida (AP) — Three Ku Klux Klan members who worked at a Florida prison have been charged with plotting to kill a black inmate after his release in retaliation for a fight, officials said Thursday, in a case that marks the latest black eye for the troubled state prison system.

The three men each were arrested Thursday on one state count of conspiracy to commit murder, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office said in a written statement.

Bondi’s office said the three were also members of the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The wide-ranging investigation included the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and various state and local agencies. The FBI’s office in Jacksonville said it would not comment on an open investigation.

Last fall, prison system officials fired nearly 50 employees, including several over allegations that they punched and beat inmates.

Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones, who was hired late last year to lead the troubled agency, called the arrests “disquieting.”

“We are moving swiftly to terminate the employees arrested today and working closely with Office of the Attorney General to assist in their prosecution,” she said in a statement.

Associated Press writer Jennifer Kay in Miami contributed to this report. Fineout reported from Tallahassee.