Video: African-American parole officer forms unlikely friendship with former neo-Nazi
Michael Kent’s outlook has changed since his case was assigned to an African-American parole officer
By Police1 Staff
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Michael Kent’s walls used to be covered with Nazi flags and he used to have multiple neo-Nazi tattoos on his body. But his outlook changed since his case was assigned to an African-American parole officer named Tiffany Whittier.
“If it wasn’t for her I would have seeped back into it,” Kent told ABC News. “I look at her as family.”
Kent said Whitter told him to remove his Nazi flags and replace them with smiley faces to brighten his outlook and start his day in a positive way.
“I’m not here to judge him. That’s not my job to judge. My job is to be that positive person in someone’s life,” Whittier said.
Kent said he used to refuse to work for anyone who wasn’t white. Now, he works full-time on a chicken farm, where all his co-workers are Hispanic.
“[Now] we have company parties, or they have quinceañeras, I’m the only white guy there,” he said.
Kent was even inspired to remove his swastika tattoos. Redemption Ink, a nonprofit that offers free tattoos removals of hate-related tattoos, helped Kent connect with a shop to cover up his tattoos.
He believes the process will help him move away from his past in a violent Arizona skinhead group. Kent hopes it’ll help his two children see the world differently.
“I don’t want my kids to live the life I lived and live with hate,” he said. “I want my kids to know me for who I am now—a good father, a hard worker, and a good provider.”