Supervisor takes stand in CRC case Mock admits making racial statement

January 16, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

On the official observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in Baltimore yesterday, a former supervisor at United Cable of Baltimore testified that he once described the slain civil rights leader as a "Communist" and that he couldn't understand why such a comment was insulting to African-Americans.

Kenneth L. Mock, who is white, also admitted at a city Community Relations Commission hearing that he used a racial slur to describe a black person while having a conversation with another United employee in 1987.

"I didn't feel that comment was offensive," Mr. Mock said.

The hearing, which started Monday and will continue into next week, is being conducted to air the complaint of Louis Beverly, a former United salesman who is accusing the city's cable television franchise of racial discrimination.

Mr. Beverly, who is black, has charged that his supervisors -- led by Mr. Mock -- gave him sales territories based on his race and that they fostered a "racially intimidating and oppressive work environment" by constantly making racist remarks.

According to the complaint, Mr. Beverly said he was fired after complaining about the racial comments to the CRC and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Craig Ballew, a lawyer for United, contends Mr. Beverly was fired after repeated warnings for not producing enough sales, failing to keep up on paperwork and encroaching on the territories of other salespeople.

In earlier testimony, the complainant alleged that Mr. Mock claimed he was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan and that Mr. Mock called Dr. King a Communist.

Mr. Mock also testified yesterday that he called President John F. Kennedy a "coward" for failing to back militarily the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.

He also said, "I never saw rich boys like the Kennedys in Vietnam" during the war there.

Outside the hearing room, Mr. Mock denied he was ever a member of the KKK and said that he wasn't a racist.

He said he served as a captain in the Army Special Forces in 1969 and 1970 in Vietnam. In his lapel, he wore a small Silver Star ribbon pin, the nation's third highest combat decoration.

"I won't comment fully on this until the entire issue is resolved," Mr. Mock said.

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