Lawyer linked to white
supremacists hired by DOT
The Associated Press
8/8/01 4:12 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A lawyer linked to white
supremacists has been hired by a state highway worker to
fight an agency ban on Confederate symbols, including one
that may have provoked the fatal shooting of a black
Department of Transportation civil engineer Daniel Graves
hired North Carolina attorney Kirk Lyons to fight the DOT
order forcing him to leave Confederate material at home.
Black employees in the DOT office in Grove Hill, where
Graves previously worked, complained about the
Confederate symbols. Some contend a Confederate flag
cover on Graves' cell phone may have provoked the July 17
fatal shooting of a black worker by Graves' father.
Marvin Roland Graves, 60, has been charged with murder
in the death of Freddie Golthy Jr., 53. The elder Graves, a
retired state transportation worker, and Golthy, a DOT
worker for 17 years, argued inside the Grove Hill office and
later fought outside the building before the shooting.
The younger Graves contends the shooting and the
Confederate flag on the cell phone are "totally separate."
He said Lyons came "very highly recommended" to fight
the DOT ban against display of the Confederate material.
He said he was not aware of Lyons' links to the white
supremacist Aryan Nations.
Lyons married the daughter of Charles Tate, then
second-in-command of the Aryan Nations, in 1990 at the
organization's church. The ceremony was performed by its
pastor and Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler.
Lyons, 45, is chief counsel for the Southern Legal
Resource Center in Black Mountain, N.C.
"At one time I knew everybody in the right wing groups and
everybody knew me," Lyons told The Birmingham News in
a story Wednesday. "But it doesn't mean I have to join
them to know them. I am not a racist." Lyons said.
Mark Potok, editor of a Southern Poverty Law Center
magazine that monitors hate groups, disputed Lyons'
"He is not merely an attorney for white supremacists. He is
a white supremacist," said Potok.
(WNCCEIB Ed. Note: Click here for documented background on Lyons)
Graves, 29, said he is not a member of any white
supremacist group and is not concerned that his hiring of
Lyons may cause some to label him a racist.
Graves, who has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity
complaint against DOT, claims he was a victim of
discrimination because of his national origin, as a Southern