Thomas Dwayne Long, a police officer in East Ellijay, Georgia, is a clear supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. According to an online biography, Tommy Long has been with the East Ellijay Police Department since 2010. Before that, Long worked with the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office. On social media, Tommy Long is linked to militants of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (UNSKKKK), an organization which Long also supports.
The Facebook profile for Tommy Long is a reservoir of “thin blue line” pro-police images, Right-wing and pro-Trump materials, plus anti-Muslim bigotry. Long’s profile image, a “Punisher” logo combined with a (pro-cop) blue line, neatly captures his general attitude. In August 2017, Officer Long posted an image of himself in uniform combined with a heart and the slogan “No place for hate” – a strange gesture given Long’s association with Klansmen.
Tommy Long’s Facebook page is connected to three profiles for Charles Geoffrey Denton, the “Imperial Wizard” (i.e. main national organizer) for the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Long’s page is also connected to three Facebook profiles for Justin Stephen Blue Owens, the UNSKKKK “Grand Dragon” (main state orgainizer) for Georgia. Long not only knows these individuals; Long is aware that they are with the Klan and Long supports their organization’s efforts.
Tommy Long is connected to one Facebook profile for Klan leader Charles G. Denton under the name “Geoff Denton,” plus two of Denton’s profiles as “Cole Thornton.” (Denton is listed as Imperial Wizard on the UNSKKKK website under the name “Cole Thornton.”) Although Charles Denton spent years doing Klan organizing from Florida, he currently resides in Ellijay, Georgia. Both the “Geoff Denton” profile and the two “Cole Thornton” Facebooks are unmistakably Ku Klux Klan pages.
Charles Denton led the National Aryan Knights of the Ku Klux Klan before that organization merged with the UNSKKKK in 2007, when Denton/“Cole Thornton” then assumed the title of Imperial Wizard for the United Northern and Southern Knights. A couple of years before the merger, Denton showed up to trial in support of Edgar Ray Killen, a Klansman who was eventually convicted for his role in killing three civil rights activists during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. On the first of his “Cole Thornton” accounts, Denton posted a picture of himself with Edgar Ray Killen outside the courthouse. This “Cole Thornton” account has Denton speaking to the media at the time of the Killen trial as its profile picture.
Charles Denton has a history of police recruits in his Klan. Previously, there was a scandal involving the Fruitland Park Police Department in Florida, after officers there were revealed as UNSKKKK participants. Additionally, the current “Imperial Klaliff” or Vice President for the UNSK – Ron Beaver AKA “Ron Knight” – is a former detective with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.
On the second of Charles Denton’s “Cole Thornton” accounts, Officer Tommy Long “liked” a comment where Denton complained about “being called a racist by people that don’t know me at all” simply because “I am in the Klan”. Tommy Long “liked” several other comments on this “Cole Thornton” profile, and occasionally commented on this profile. Notably, Tommy Long “liked” a post by Charles Denton/“Cole Thornton” claiming that “a gang is making a pledge to attack police officers here over the holidays” and instructing Klan members to “go on high alert […] get on out there [… and…] watch their [the police’s] six.” Here, a police officer is supporting the Ku Klux Klan as it plans to operate as a police auxiliary.
Tommy Long “liked” a picture of Charles Denton in full Klan robes, as well as a photo album from a Klan event featuring armed security, so there is no doubt Long knows the full extent of Charles Denton’s white power activity.
On Tommy Long’s Facebook page, Charles Denton occasionally used his “Geoff Denton” profile to comment on crime stories, where Denton would post an image of a tree and a hangman’s noose, a clear reference to lynching.
As well as Officer Long’s association with Imperial Wizard Charles Denton/“Cole Thornton”, Long is also connected to Georgia UNSK “Grand Dragon” Justin Stephen Owens, who has multiple accounts on Facebook as “Stephen Owens.” Owens is blatant about his affiliation with the UNSKKKK, for example wearing a UNSK patch on his hat in one profile photo.
In 2016, Justin Owens was photographed alongside members of Aryan Nations Worldwide protesting on the strip of road outside the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar (a Klan venue in Draketown, GA). Last year, Owens showed up with other Klansmen (plus militiamen and neo-Confederates) at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery, where they assembled in response to a Facebook event made by internet trolls about “Desecrating Confederate Cemeteries.”
On Facebook, one of Owens’ profiles includes a picture of a ring featuring a Klan “blood drop” logo with the letters UNSK. Officer Tommy Long “liked” the post. In another 2016 post to this profile, Owens urged readers to stand up to Black Lives Matter and the “mongrels” destroying cities, ending his message with “JOIN THE KLAN!” and providing the UNSKKKK website. Officer Tommy Long also “liked” this post.
While we do not have evidence that Tommy Long has been officially inducted into the UNSKKKK, the above shows a clear pattern of Long’s sympathy and support for the organization. Klan and white supremacist groups have much to gain from bringing police officers into their circles: not merely numbers but the potential for intelligence, and the dream of steering policing even further against marginalized communities.
It’s clear that Long’s “anti-hate” rhetoric doesn’t mean much since he can’t recognize that someone being a KKK leader makes that person racist. And Long’s support for lynching (a form of extra-judicial execution) suggests that his primary commitment is not to enforcing the law, but advancing the values he shares with the KKK through legal or illegal means. The East Ellijay Police Department must now decide what to do with their Klan-supporting officer.
If you have more information about white supremacist organizing in our state – including by police or corrections officers – please get in contact.