Army probe clears criminal division of racial bias chargesIn this story:
January 15, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A seven-month Army investigation into allegations of racial bias by the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) found the charges to be "without merit," according to the Army.
The investigation, which is being called a "typical Army whitewash" by one of the accusers, was ordered by then-Army Secretary Togo West and conducted by the Army inspector general's office.
Allegations of racism and racial bias were leveled by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and attorneys for former Army Sgt. Major Gene McKinney.
They disapprove of the CID's handling of the Aberdeen Proving Ground sex scandal and the case against McKinney, who was court-martialed on charges of sexual misconduct.
Accusers claimed Army CID investigators harassed witnesses and coerced incriminating testimony from women in an overzealous, racially motivated effort to pursue convictions against McKinney and soldiers accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
McKinney and all the other men accused in the Aberdeen case are African-American.
The Army investigation concluded that, "although the Inspector General found isolated instances in which CID agents did not follow standard investigative procedures, the agents' conduct was not racially motivated."
Charles Gittins, McKinney's defense attorney, told CNN the investigation was a "typical Army whitewash." He said the "investigators went to black females and asked if Gene McKinney was only interested in white women."
He also accused the Army of ignoring other allegations of wrongdoing. He said he and other attorneys had provided the Army with "page after page of (allegations of) misconduct by the Army investigators, but because it didn't directly deal with racism, it wasn't investigated."
Gittins, a former U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel and aviator, said the Army investigators engaged in subornation of perjury, suppression of evidence and other misconduct during the McKinney investigation.
"They didn't want to know, so they didn't investigate it", he said.
The Army release states: "The Army takes all allegations of racial or sexual bias seriously. After a rigorous investigation, the Inspector General found that neither investigation was racially motivated. In both cases, taking care of the victims and finding the truth were of paramount concern."
CNN National Security Producer Chris Plante contributed to this report.
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