ATLANTA - Testimony is to start today in a federal trial in which plaintiffs argue DeKalb County officials sought to replace white employees with black ones.
Plaintiffs in the 2004 lawsuit accuse former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones of ordering a top subordinate to "dig up dirt" on top white managers because he wanted a "darker administration" to reflect the county's racial makeup.
The lawsuit was filed by three whites - Becky Kelley Michael Bryant and John Drake - and one black, Herbert Lowe, who says he was fired because he would not discriminate against white managers.
A federal appeals court has refused to dismiss the case, concluding there was "shocking evidence of an overt an unabashed pattern of discrimination."
Attorney's representing Jones point out he appointed a white director of public safety, a white fire chief and a white county attorney.