Trooper Darron Keith Anderson, 35, disclosed pictures Wednesday of a 1989 birthday party in which white troopers donned pointed hoods emblazoned with a Klan symbol.
The Polaroid photographs show a smiling Anderson a seated in front of as many as eight uniformed Texas Department of Public Safety troopers wearing white hoods marked with "KKK.''
"I didn't know what to do other than smile. Later, yes, I went home and cried like a baby,'' Anderson told reporters at a press conference in front of the DPS Houston offices Wednesday, where he displayed the pictures.
He said he was blindfolded and placed in a chair with a German chocolate cake. When he pulled off the blindfold, he saw about a dozen troopers, dispatchers and other coworkers wearing the hoods, he said.
Anderson said his job and his safety have been threatened unless he surrendered the photographs and remained quiet.
And, he claims, he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the incident.
"After the photos were taken, it started a downhill slide," he said.
Marvin Anderson, Darron's father, said, "The family that he loved has been destroyed by the job that he had. I would snap too, and I'm angry."
Anderson's disclosure comes after his firing from the DPS Nov. 29, which stemmed from his June 4 indictment for arson in San Jacinto County. The indictment accuses Anderson of setting fire to his Chevrolet pickup truck on April 19, "knowing the vehicle was insured.''
San Jacinto County District Attorney Scott Rosekrans said Anderson reported his truck stolen from Livingston, and officers recovered it in nearby San Jacinto County, he said.
An insurance claim for the truck was made and later withdrawn, Rosekrans said. No trial date has been set. Anderson faces between two and 20 years in prison if convicted.
Anderson named four troopers he said were present at the party. Two since-retired officers, Jack Tyler and Roy Henry, acknowledged to The Associated Press that they took part in the Nov. 11, 1989, surprise party.
Henry, who was a sergeant and Anderson's supervisor, characterized the party incident as a joke.
"All I can tell you is he was under my supervision for nine years, and I still say I was proud of him,'' Henry said. "He is under a tremendous amount of emotional pressure. I watched the news clip and that's not the Darron Anderson I know.''
Anderson claims Henry directed a racial slur at him at the party.
"I was openly called 'nigger' in the highway patrol office in front of a number of other troopers,''he said.
Henry said that did not happen. Anderson was a rookie and the only black trooper in the Livingston office at the time of the time of the party, he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety promises an investigation. "We will evaluate and we will investigate all matters of misconduct brought to our attention on behalf of our troopers," said Lt. Bob Gilbert.
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