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A captain at the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump was recently fired for his activity on a white supremacist chat forum.
The Nevada Southern Detention Center is a privately owned facility that contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
CoreCivic, which owns and operates the facility, released a statement this week announcing the action they took against Travis Frey.
Frey’s actions were uncovered by a Vice News investigation. Tess Owen worked on the article about Frey.
“It came after last November activists uploaded archive for this now-defunct neo-Nazi site called Iron March," Owen said about how she first started working on the article, "This website was really important because it was sort of a central online hub for white nationalists around the world and where some of the founding members of these modern groups got together and created their plans.”
Through information users had put on the website, Owen and her colleague were able to track down many former and current military members who posted on Iron March. After an article about those people ran, she got a tip about Frey.
“We were able to confirm Frey’s identity through some personal information that he shared on Iron March, including his location at times, his email address. He also shared his work phone number, which wasn’t the smartest idea,” she said.
During her research, Owen found that Frey had moved from Indiana to Nevada to take a job at the detention center in Pahrump.
Owen said Frey was active on the white supremacist site from 2013 through 2017 and posted about 130 times, not including messages to other users.
“In the 130 times he posted, he expressed a desire to form a white nationalist group where he was living at the time in Carmel, Indiana," Owen said, "He expressed violently racist and anti-Semitic views, misogynistic views and I think that raised a lot of questions about how he could be holding a position of authority over vulnerable populations.”
Owen said CoreCivic was quick to investigate and fire Frey after the allegations first surfaced. She also believes the company was transparent in the way the handled the investigation.
However, the incident does bring up questions about the company.
“I don’t know how he managed to conceal those views for so long, but it also raised questions about Core Civic’s vetting procedures and also internal reporting mechanisms for people to report if one of their colleagues might hold bigoted views,” she said.
Right now, Frey doesn't face any criminal charges because as Owen pointed out, "it is not illegal in the United States to be a white supremacist."
Unless Frey breaks the law in some way, he can't be charged with expressing racist or anti-Semitic views.
Owen talked with Frey before the article ran but he didn't disavow his views. She said in his online posts he would claim that he wasn't racist.
“What I found most disturbing about the posts was how he would sometimes claim that he wasn’t racist or that he wasn’t anti-Semitic but then would go on to spout incredibly racist views,” she said.
Tess Owen, reporter, Vice News