Doug Seymour. Says the Klan's Metzger: “San Diego is a good-old-boy town. Doug is a ‘wanna-be.’ He wants to be liked. He was really into his role, he can’t deny that."
By June of 1980, reserve officer Doug Seymour’s commitment to the police department’s infiltration of the California Ku Klux Klan had gone far beyond “one meeting a month.” He had been inside the Klan for a year and a half and had positioned himself as one of Klan leader Tom Metzger’s confidants and top aides. Moreover, since Metzger had declared his candidacy for the Forty-third Congressional District seat on the Democratic ticket (against Republican incumbent Clair Burgener), he and Seymour were in almost daily contact.
Early in the Congressional campaign, Tom Metzger had “dissolved” the Klan and created instead the WAPA, the White American Political Association.
Seymour’s own construction business was suffering. D.K. Seymour Development and Construction, Inc., had built seven mini-warehouse projects since 1975 and had also acted as general contractor in the construction of the Penasquitos Pines Professional Building. In addition, he “built-out,” from their concrete shells, other businesses and offices throughout the county. On paper he was worth $1.6 million when he joined the police reserves in 1976, yet by June of 1980, when Metzger was named the surprise winner in the Democratic congressional primary, Seymour should have been very concerned.
Assistant Police Chief Bob Burgreen: “Our options were to pull out and probably burn the whole operation — because you just don’t take someone who has been that close to another person, that involved with him, and then all of a sudden have him disappear without reason."
It is not possible to view Seymour’s increasing emotional instability only in terms of his relationship with Tom Metzger and the Ku Klux Klan. (Early in the campaign, Metzger had “dissolved” the Klan and created instead the WAPA, the White American Political Association. Seymour claims that the WAPA is no more than a sanitized version of the Klan.) He was in financial trouble, he says, as the long campaign hours drew his attention from his business, and the consequences were disastrous. He claims that the police department began to compensate him, although the weekly payments amounted only to a few hundred dollars. What he counted on more were the investment deals he says the department was going to help him with. Part of his civil suit, filed against members of the police department and the City of San Diego, contains allegations that San Diego Police Sergeant Ernie Trumper represented to him “that the San Diego Police Department would compensate [him] for the losses in his construction business in syndicating real estate projects with the assistance of fellow police officers.”
It took the police department a year and a half to recant Kolender’s statement of disavowal.
Seymour and other officers invested in two real-estate partnerships for properties in Golden Hill, with D.K. Seymour Construction and Development, Inc. to serve as the general partner. He alleges that Sergeant Trumper, “for the ostensible purpose of not revealing [Seymour’s police] identity ... wrongfully induced [Seymour] to violate his duties as a general partner.” Again according to Seymour’s complaint, neither deal was finalized or recorded; he was sued for default by his partners in one instance, and he lost his general partnership in the other investment.
As Sergeant Trumper allegedly gained control over Seymour’s financial resources, the undercover reservist says it was more difficult to get out of the Klan detail. “Bearing in mind, if I quit the detail and tell them to go to hell, I’ve got nothing left. I’m counting on Trumper and [members of] the department for my apartment projects,” Seymour says bitterly. “Cops are my partners. What am I going to do, walk away and have no projects, plus be burned by the Klan?”
Currently, Seymour owes approximately $741,000 to more than twenty individuals, including other police officers. In 1985 and again, earlier this year, he filed for reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The former reservist, who lost his Escondido house this year, will have to decide whether to renew the reorganization statute, which recently expired. He blames the debt on the police department, saying he feels that his creditors would have been paid, were it not for the Klan detail and its aftermath. (Seymour also claims that a settlement conference, pertaining to his civil suit, resulted in the city’s offer late last year of actual damages in the amount of $741,000. He says he declined the offer.)
If the congressional primary victory was Seymour’s emotional peak within the Klan, then the next five months, he says, leading up to the general election, began his steep slide down the jagged slope of reality. The publicity of the campaign spurred numerous anonymous midnight death threats; and in the constant public outrage against Metzger’s candidacy, Seymour says he began to fear that some enterprising reporter might research his own role in the campaign and blow his cover.
When the primary election was over, he told Trumper he wanted out, and this time, he says, the sergeant said no. The Klan had closed its inner circle until after the general election, and the police department had discontinued its secondary contact, who was on a lower echelon within the organization, leaving Seymour the sole agent on the detail. Besides, Seymour says he was getting the distinct message that “If we yank you now, we [the department] can’t protect you. We can’t protect your wife and kids. We certainly can’t give you twenty-four-hour protection.”
So Seymour’s infiltration continued. And he alleges that from the night of the primary victory — when he and Tom Metzger were so swept along by the stunning political upset that they danced a jig arm in arm around the candidate’s living room —his loss of identity had begun. He started to drink heavily to cope with increasing anxiety, and his physician prescribed Valium, five milligrams, to be taken every four to six hours, as needed. He hid his drinking from his family, stashing bottles and pills inside closets, behind furniture, and inside his clothing.
Seymour and Metzger attended campaign events almost every day that summer. Until the November general election, his chief business was that of orchestrating his candidate’s schedule, answering phone calls, arranging interviews and fundraising events, and meeting with police Intelligence. More campaign events meant more risk for Seymour, or “Mr. Mafus” (for Mafia), as the growing number of repeat hecklers called him.
Most private business establishments would not rent space to Metzger’s campaign, so when Seymour reserved banquet facilities at places such as Sir George’s Smorgasbord or the Sears store in El Cajon, he used Metzger’s business name, White Point Publishing. Other facilities, he says, such as Rock Kreutzer’s Big Oak Ranch, willingly did business with Metzger (Seymour claims he was present when Kreutzer was naturalized into the Klan).
Meanwhile, his position with Tom Metzger was becoming more tenuous. Metzger claims he first became suspicious of Seymour in July of 1979, when the undercover reservist reported to him that he had lost his Klan “passport,” or I.D. card. Metzger says, “If you’re really serious about the Klan, it’s something you don’t mislay.” In fact, Seymour had turned in the original document to Intelligence.
Then there was the matter of the second Fontana cross burning at George Pepper’s house, the night Metzger officially announced his congressional candidacy. Although he didn’t think much of it at the time, Metzger recalls that Seymour was the only Klan member stopped and questioned by the police. And he mentions, as well, the matter of Seymour’s first lie-detector test, which Metzger administered at Seymour’s office and which he says Seymour failed. Metzger administered the tests routinely to all his close aides during the election campaign, and he says today, “I had strong suspicions, but on the other hand, he was such a good guy, and it seemed, hell, maybe we were wrong.”
Candidate Metzger was trounced in the November general election, and a month later, he asked Seymour to take a second lie-detector test. This time Seymour was to answer questions about FBI involvement. During the campaign, he had given Metzger one of his briefcases, and the candidate found an FBI business card with the handwritten inscription: “Doug, let’s go for it.” (Seymour says that the FBI connection had nothing to do with his Klan undercover detail but pertained to the investigation of a Mississippi loan broker who had failed to produce financing for Seymour after being paid finders’ fees. The FBI had asked him to cooperate.) A police department statement alleges that he reported the FBI card’s discovery to his superiors but that he assured them he could handle any Klan inquiries. Nonetheless, today Seymour recalls that he tried to “beat” the test by taking Valium, and on tape, his voice is arguably slurred. On tape, Metzger noticed this, too, although he acknowledges that the lie-detector results were inconclusive. Nonetheless, Seymour says, he sensed that his cover was quickly evaporating.
Compounding the suspicion he sensed from Metzger were mounting threats from enemies of the Klan. On Christmas Eve 1980, two bullets were fired through the windshield of his van. Five days later, as he was driving near his home, a large rock again shattered the windshield, landing him at Scripps Clinic in Rancho Bernardo with a concussion, bruised ribs, a bruised ankle, and anxiety so intense that his doctor increased the dosage of Valium. It was a tough spot to be in: suspected of FBI collusion by the same Klan members with whom he had worked daily since early summer; openly vilified by the public for his Klan associations; his sole emotional support coming from the group he had committed himself to infiltrate; and unable, he says, to persuade Sergeant Trumper to release him from the detail. His drinking, he says, increased tenfold. “I didn’t know if I was a cop, a Klansman, or a businessman.” Seymour alleges that he told Sergeant Trumper on several occasions he was falling apart and needed to get out, but that again, Trumper was intransigent and refused each request. This allegation is emphatically refuted by Assistant Police Chief Bob Burgreen. “We thought he could handle it [the pressure] and be effective. He was telling us he could be effective.”
Two months later, Seymour’s luck ran out. On February 25, 1981, he received a call from Metzger, convening a “special meeting.” As head of Klan security, it was Seymour’s job to alert the rest of the membership to “special meetings,” but on this night, he says, Metzger assured him, “It’s already been taken care of.” Seymour usually drove to the Fallbrook meetings with another member, but on that night, the man already had a ride.
Seymour claims he sensed trouble and contrived his own plan. He asked a mechanic friend to drive with him to Metzger’s house that night and to wait in the van while he went inside. Seymour says he entered the small den in Metzger’s basement, where El Cajon den commander Winston Burbage frisked him and took his gun.
Immediately, Seymour told Metzger that his van was having mechanical difficulties and that a mechanic was outside, working on the problem. When his mechanic friend knocked on the door a few minutes later, Seymour stepped outside and gave him a prearranged signal to phone Sergeant Trumper.
In court testimony and in separate interviews, Seymour alleges that he sat on a chair in the middle of the concrete room. Two Klansmen sat to his left, between him and the door; another sat on his right; a fourth sat directly behind and out of sight. Metzger, he says, positioned himself directly in front, one hand resting on a desk, the other on a gun.
Metzger, he says, asked most of the questions: What is your real name? ... Are you an agent for the San Diego police? ... The FBI? ... And after each response, Seymour claims he felt a gun barrel against the back of his head and the Russian roulette “click” of an empty chamber that echoed each answer.
Seymour says the questions continued: Who is Stuart?... What happened to your passport? ... Who’s paying you to spy on us? ... What was your dog tag number? ... Were you ever a POW? Someone handed him two pencils and ordered him to use them as chopsticks to prove that he had indeed been in Vietnam. Again the questions: Were you in Vietnam?... Are you a Communist spy? ... Are you a police officer? Again, the click of an empty chamber. Suddenly, according to his court testimony, Seymour heard an explosion that stunned him into a state of semi consciousness.
Tom Metzger agrees that a special meeting did take place at his house that night and that it lasted for several hours. But he denies absolutely all allegations of a Klan trial or the use of guns. “I mean, to be playing around with guns and [with]. my kids upstairs, that’s ridiculous,” he contends. “That thing [Seymour’s account of the Klan “trial”] was manufactured.” He claims Seymour was summoned to Fallbrook that night to answer questions about a “security problem” and that he was frisked as a precaution. Metzger admits also that he kept a gun in his hand throughout the questioning, saying he no longer trusted Seymour; but he denies that any shots were fired or that a game of Russian roulette was played.
Seymour nonetheless contends in his lawsuit that he “was hospitalized as a result of a complete physical and emotional breakdown” suffered after the Russian roulette-style “trial” in Metzger’s basement. He still cannot identity the source of the explosion he thought at the time was a gun blast; nor can he remember who took him from Metzger’s house that night, but he says he was later told that Sergeant Trumper met him at a Fallbrook shopping center and drove him home. He can remember sitting at home, in his living room, shaken and weeping, unable to communicate for an indefinite period of time. He claims he doesn’t know if his “total funk” lasted for days or weeks. He does remember that he finally “awoke” in a hospital room.
Seymour “awoke” in the intensive care unit of Mesa Vista Hospital. He says he can remember reaching up to touch his head, surprised to feel no bandages, no bullet wound. Under the treatment of a psychiatrist, he remained in the hospital approximately one week, first in intensive care, then on the general ward. During this time, he received weekly disability checks from the State Compensation Insurance Fund, the only time, according to Assistant Police Chief Bob Burgreen, that a reserve officer had ever, to his knowledge, been granted state compensation.
At some point after he left the hospital (he says he cannot recall the exact date), Seymour says he drove back, alone, to Metzger’s house on orders from Sergeant Trumper. “I was terrified,” he remembers. “I cried most of the way up there.” Seymour claims that Trumper wanted him to retrieve radio equipment that had been loaned to Metzger; and at the same time, he says, he was instructed to make a nonaggression pact. He recalls that Metzger was cordial that afternoon and that the two men agreed to “leave each other alone” from that point onward. (A police statement, allegedly written by Sergeant Trumper, concurs that Seymour returned to Metzger’s house but adds that the visit was at his own instigation, that he had radio equipment there he “wanted to go and get.” The report adds that “it was decided” that Seymour would call Metzger within a few more days and inform him that he was “upset about being suspected as a police informant and [was] voluntarily dissociating himself with Metzger and his organization.”
On April 21, 1981, nearly two months after the alleged Klan “trial,” Seymour was shot. To this day, no one agrees on the circumstances of the shooting. Assistant Chief Burgreen and Tom Metzger both contend the bullet wound in Seymour’s shoulder was self-inflicted. Seymour tells a slightly different story.
He says that he and several Intelligence officers spent that afternoon and early evening moving him into a new house in Escondido, for the purpose of isolating him from further harassment by Klan foes. He contends that sometime around dusk, he dozed off momentarily on the floor of his van when he was suddenly awakened by “a large Mexican” intruder, pinned to the floor of the van, and choked. The man’s weight made it difficult for Seymour to get his service revolver from the waistband of his trousers, and although he was able to reach it during the struggle and bring it up across his chest, the gun went off under the weight of the assailant’s body. The wound to his left shoulder was self-inflicted, he says, but he insists (and cites the opinion of his physician) that the bullet’s angle of entry supports his version.
He was transported first to Escondido’s Palomar Memorial Hospital, then to University Hospital (now UCSD Medical Center), and there, he claims. Sergeant Trumper came to question him. During the visit, he says, Trumper took his police badge, which was lying in full view on a bedside table. Seymour never saw it again.
Seymour claims that under orders from the San Diego Police Department, the Escondido Police Department declined to investigate the alleged assault and that when he finally requested an official inquiry from the San Diego homicide division, his disability payments were suspended. He alleges that the department repeatedly used this tactic of temporarily cutting off his disability “whenever I got out of line.” (Deputy City Attorney Kenneth So, who is acting for the defendants against Seymour’s lawsuit, explained in a recent interview that the police department made no investigation because it determined that Seymour’s wound was self-inflicted. Since that interview, So has declined further comment.)
For the remainder of 1981, through 1982, and into the beginning of 1983, Seymour continued to recover from what he claims was the pressure of two and a half years spent living a dual identity. That rehabilitation consisted of a combination of inpatient and outpatient care at Mesa Vista Hospital. He was able to begin a new mini-warehouse project with former San Diego Charger Lance A1 worth; and each time his disability benefits were suspended by the department, he says he paid for his own counseling.
Two events in mid-May 1982 cause Seymour to claim today that the department insisted he maintain silence about his past undercover work “because they were only concerned with their own liability.”
On May 12, 1982, Tom Metzger scheduled a press conference. Members of the press contacted the police department, and Seymour says that Sergeant Trumper notified him. Later that day, Metzger made the announcement to the press that he had uncovered divorce documents filed by Seymour’s wife. Those documents also requested her share of funds he had received “as a reserve officer with the San Diego City Police Department.” Metzger’s security staff routinely cross-checked members’ names with court records for just such incriminating information; and Seymour claims that the department had been equally vigilant — at least up to that point — in pulling the public records filed by undercover officers. (Seymour alleges that this kind of police protective action was Sergeant Trumper’s justification to him for taking possession of papers pertaining to his real-estate investments. He cannot explain why his wife’s divorce documents were not pulled by the police.)
The divorce discovery resurrected Metzger’s accusations against Kolender, charges first made during the 1980 congressional campaign. At that time, the police chief had deviated from departmental policy to make a public endorsement of Metzger’s opponent, Republican incumbent Clair Burgener; and at the May 12 press conference, Metzger repeated those charges. Local papers quoted him saying, “Bill Kolender was very heavy in support of Clair Burgener, my opponent. He was an open advocate working for Clair Burgener, and I think this kind of dirty politics — no matter who it is directed toward — has to cease.”
Much more damning that day, however, was Metzger’s claim that the police department had been involved in illegal political activity by directing Seymour to infiltrate his campaign. He still insists that Seymour’s assignment inside the Klan was politically inspired, a claim denied both by Seymour and Assistant Chief of Police Bob Burgreen. “There was never any direct intent to sabotage his campaign,” Seymour says, adding that the department “meticulously scrutinized ... areas to stay away from for that particular reason. We didn’t infiltrate it [the Klan] for that purpose. He wasn’t running for office then. [We] had no knowledge he was even thinking of it.” However, in Seymour’s pending lawsuit, he alleges that he “did in fact infiltrate the KKK and later the Metzger congressional campaign and continued to act as an undercover officer at the direction of the San Diego Police Department.” And according to a police log, Seymour “passed Republican information on to Metzger throughout the 1980 campaign. All false information.”
The San Diego Police Department’s immediate response to Metzger’s charge was neither to confirm nor deny its validity. But that night, Seymour says, he was summoned to Sergeant Trumper’s Clairemont home to discuss the press conference. Seymour alleges that Sergeant Trumper told him that Chief Kolender planned to release his own statement to the press. Then, according to Seymour, Trumper reached into his briefcase and pulled out a thick folder. Seymour didn’t see its contents, but he says that Trumper warned him that if he refused to go along with Kolender’s statement, he would be in for “more trouble than you can handle.” He allegedly told Seymour that the department had enough information on him to make his life miserable “for a long time.”
Seymour says he recently was able to obtain a copy of the LEIU operations manual, and he now believes that Trumper utilized methods dictated by the intelligence organization for the control of informants by intelligence officers. This is an issue that may be raised in his civil suit against the police department, since Seymour maintains that at all times he was an intelligence officer and should not have been treated as an “informant.”
Under a section of the LEIU manual titled “Control of Informer — Security Warning,” is the following:
This element of the meeting for termination is the most critical.... The informant should be advised in no uncertain terms what he can and cannot do with the knowledge he has of the operation.... The informant is told to “keep his mouth shut.” Whatever is necessary to enforce that caveat should be applied. A simple admonition, with a subtle reminder of all the data and documentation about the informant, and its possible use, may suffice. At the other end of the scale, actual threats to use these things may be necessary. The informant must understand the consequences of violating the rules for security.
The next day, Kolender was quoted in local papers. “I can tell you he [Seymour] was not an active reserve officer at the time he was an alleged informant.” In effect, Seymour says, the department disowned him and left him alone to deal with the fallout from Kolender’s statement. In the resulting publicity and strain, Seymour says that his mini-warehouse deal with former Charger player worth collapsed, a loss of about $100,000 for both men. Two weeks later, Seymour admitted himself to Mesa Vista hospital.
Five years later, Seymour still contends that the department was put in a position “to either tell the truth and weather the storm or sacrifice one officer, make me expendable in [its own] interest.” U.S. Congressman Jim Bates expressed a similar opinion in a phone interview last month. Bates, who has been investigating Seymour’s disclosures, says, “From their point of view, ‘It’s one guy that we maybe treat poorly. But overall, we protect the force.’ I think they just thought he was dangerous and was talking too much, and they ... didn’t want to be associated with having helped Metzger’s campaign.” (Seymour collected qualifying signatures for Metzger and served as an aide, chauffeur, and bodyguard throughout the campaign.)
It took the police department a year and a half to recant Kolender’s statement of disavowal, but by then, Seymour says, the emotional damage and harm to his reputation were done. Besides, he alleges, the department only made the acknowledgment of his undercover activity in response to press inquiries immediately after his December 9, 1983, testimony, in Oceanside, before the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission. Seymour was a surprise witness at that hearing on local discrimination and civil-rights abuses, and he spoke out for the first time publicly and presented proof of his police reservist activities inside the Klan. In response to media questions, Deputy Police Chief Kenneth O’Brien finally admitted the fact of Seymour’s undercover Klan detail three years earlier. Nonetheless, he dismissed as “having no substance” Seymour’s accounts before the commission (and reports he says he turned in to Intelligence) of such crimes as the Fontana beheadings of alien field workers and the macing, by Tom Metzger, of Hispanics.
On March 28, 1984, three months after Seymour’s public testimony and in response to a letter from the chief counsel to the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission to Peter Nunez, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Kathryn Freeman issued a subpoena to Deputy Police Chief O’Brien (who Seymour has testified was “our chief of LEIU”), ordering him to “provide all files, records, notes, tape recordings, and memoranda pertaining to [Seymour] and his undercover activities with the Ku Klux Klan, to include informant files and investigative reports prepared by Sgt. Ernie Trumper regarding Seymour’s activities on behalf of the San Diego Police Department for the period 1976 to the present time.” The police department responded to the subpoena by producing several documents, among which was a statement identified by Seymour as prepared by Sergeant Trumper and three typewritten pages that he describes as excerpts from the “chiefs log.” Citing what he calls obvious gaps and discrepancies, Seymour challenges the validity of both documents. Moreover, in a complaint filed with the FBI, Seymour charges the police department with obstruction of justice and the destruction of tapes, written reports, and photographs that he claims he turned in to the police department; however, none of these were produced in response to the subpoena.
In 1985, according to Seymour, as a result of a letter sent by Congressman Bates to then-Mayor Roger Hedgecock and the city council, City Manager Sylvester Murray asked the City Attorney’s office for a ruling on whether or not the police department had indeed engaged in illegal political activity during Metzger’s 1980 congressional campaign. According to Seymour, City Attorney John Witt ruled it had not.
Last November, Seymour presented the documentation he possessed to Assemblyman Larry Sterling, who is the sponsor of legislation designed to encourage and protect legitimate employee complaints in the state. In a recent interview, Sterling said, “I think he’s a whistle-blower. There may be some disgruntled employee in there, too, but on balance, he’s a whistleblower.... I don’t think we have any choice but to pass this on to the investigatory agencies, and they really have no choice but to solve it.”
In April 1987, Assistant Chief of Police Bob Burgreen consented to an interview. (Since that meeting, he has refused further comment and declined to return phone calls.) Burgreen was asked why, on May 13, 1982, Chief Kolender denied that Seymour was an “active reserve officer” during Metzger’s campaign. The assistant chief replied that although he wasn’t sure of Kolender’s exact words, “I know that during that period of time there somewhere, we did remove his police powers, and we severed him because of activities we felt were inconsistent with the way an officer ought to behave. Perhaps [Kolender] was talking about that period of time, after the department had been given specific orders that he could not act in our behalf.”
Burgreen also explained why the department felt it had little choice but to keep Seymour undercover, especially during the 1980 congressional campaign. “Our options were to pull out and probably burn the whole operation — because you just don’t take someone who has been that close to another person, that involved with him, and then all of a sudden have him disappear without reason. Our options were to pull [Seymour] out or to leave him there [undercover inside the Klan].”
The assistant chief of police did express sympathy for Seymour, saying, “Doug did a real gutsy thing for us, volunteering for that kind of job.... I’m sorry the pressures that came as a result of the assignment caused Doug the problems they caused him.” Burgreen contends that had the department known of Seymour’s impending emotional collapse, the detail would have been handled differently. “In hindsight, had we known that Mr. Seymour was going to start having the problems that he had and the pressures were going to get to him like they obviously did ... then we’d have to say, ‘It was a mistake because he couldn’t handle it.’ We didn’t know that when we left him there.”
But Burgreen also defends the position the department was put in. “We are being called to task for a lot of things that were outside of our control. A lot of activities that we didn’t witness, and we’re being — after the fact — held up to ridicule, when we have the guts enough to do what very few [police departments] have the guts to do.”
Seymour, of course, disputes both the timing and nature of his departure from the police force. He contends that throughout the 1980 campaign — actually, until the summer of 1983 — he was a reserve officer and that he walked into police headquarters and quit. Police records show that he did in fact turn in his gun, a procedure mandatory within twenty-four hours of termination or resignation from the force, on June 20, 1983, almost three years after Metzger’s unsuccessful congressional campaign, two years after his own 1981 emotional collapse, and more than a year after Metzger’s press conference.
Meanwhile, Seymour has used his knowledge about white supremacist groups to aid federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies. According to court documents, he has given statements to and/or testified on behalf of the “Meridien Police Department in Meridien, Connecticut; the Brunswick, New Jersey, Police Department; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Georgia; ... agencies from Montgomery, Alabama; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Organized Crime Unit of the State of California, [and] Department of Justice.” Last year he was appointed special assistant to the chairman of the Center for Democratic Renewal. The center (formerly known as the National Anti-Klan Network) is the principal national clearinghouse for community-based efforts to counter hate-group activity.
Last month Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Fidler accepted Seymour as an expert witness (to provide Klan background and motivations) in the preliminary hearing of felony cross-burning charges against six Klansmen, including Tom Metzger. Five of those defendants, including Metzger, were bound over for trial, which is expected to begin next Wednesday, July 8. Seymour is again expected to testify, as a key prosecution witness.
John Phillips, special prosecutor for the Organized Crime and Anti-Terrorist Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and prosecuting attorney in Metzger’s upcoming trial, talked recently about Seymour’s credibility, saying, “We can corroborate [his testimony] with the other materials that we have, all the way down the line.” The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office had requested evidence from several law-enforcement jurisdictions, including the San Diego Police Department, and, according to Phillips, the San Diego Police Department did not furnish photographs that Seymour allegedly turned in to the department between 1979 and 1981. “I’m disappointed that we don’t have those,” said Phillips. “All I know is that the photos aren’t there. It would have been nice if they were, but we will manage just fine without them.” Phillips says, too, that “the materials that have generated from Seymour have been the materials that have been used in the Seattle prosecution of twenty-three members of the order and used also in other proceedings throughout this entire country, where the backgrounds of these people have been important.”
One man who thinks he knows Doug Seymour well describes him with a mixture of admiration, pity, and contempt. Tom Metzger, who decided not to sue the police department on a complaint of illegal political activity because “San Diego is a good-old-boy town,” spoke about his time with Seymour. “Doug is a ‘wanna-be.’ He wants to be liked. He was really into his role, he can’t deny that,” said Metzger. “The reason for the crack-up is living two lives. You get to liking the people you’re supposed to hate, and then it becomes, ‘Is he less of a cop and more of a Klansman?’ Look, it’s a hard job to do.
“He’s just been used and in some ways abused by Bill Kolender, and now they threw him to the side, they really did.” Metzger finds personal vindication in the fact that for the two and a half years Seymour spent undercover in the Klan, not a single arrest was made. “We weren’t doing anything illegal, see? He spent all that time with us, looking for illegality, and it never happened.” Seymour alleges, however, in his suit that he witnessed and reported a number of illegal Klan activities that the department never acted on — including cross burnings, the alleged murders in Fontana, and the existence of a secret arms cache hidden in the high desert near Tehachapi.
Referring to Seymour’s testimony in Los Angeles, Metzger said, “He’s always been emotionally disturbed. He’s just playing out another role today.” Although he acknowledges his disappointment in the judge who bound him over for trial, Metzger says he doesn’t dwell on the pending trial. “Hell, I’ve got a Jew there working hard for me and an Aryan over there, the prosecutor. There are gray areas in everything.”
As for Seymour’s own litigation against the city, the former undercover police reservist says, “They’re using every legal means known to city government to keep this out of the court. But I’ll spend however much money it takes, from now until the day I die, in the legal process. I will have my day in court.”