The CEO and founder of the surveillance technology company Banjo has left his position after a report uncovered his past involvement with white supremacist groups and arrest for an attack on a synagogue.
As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, Banjo chief Damien Patton announced that he would be leaving his position with the company a little more than a week after a report was published about his membership in the Ku Klux Klan and role as a getaway driver in a shooting at a synagogue. The report, first published by the technology news outlet OneZero, had led to an outcry and calls for his resignation.
The report noted that Patton was an active participant in white supremacist groups in his youth, a period of his life that he had not publicly acknowledged before the report emerged. It also uncovered a 1990 incident in which a 17-year-old Patton and another Klan member drove to a synagogue in a Nashville suburb. While Patton drove the car, the other man opened fire with a semi-automatic TEC-9 pistol, destroying a window and sending shattered glass into its administrative offices. No one was hurt in the shooting.
Patton later pleaded guilty to acts of juvenile delinquency for the attack. During the trial for the other Klansman, Patton admitted to being a member of other white supremacist groups including one that served as “the foot soldiers for groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations.”
Before the story, Patton had a growing stature in the world of surveillance and security technology, including a feature from the financial news outlet Inc.
Patton had issued an apology the day the report was published.
“I am deeply ashamed of this time in my life and feel sincere remorse and deep regret for my affiliation with hateful groups whose actions and beliefs are completely despicable, immoral and indefensible,” he said, via the Salt Lake Tribune.
While Patton did not respond to initial calls for his resignation, Banjo announced in a blog post this week that the company’s chief technology officer, Justin R. Lindsey, would be taking over the role as CEO and that Patton would step down.
Patton said in a statement that he was confident in the future of the company, but felt the best decision was to leave his post.
His resignation comes after significant backlash for the company, including the University of Utah terminating its $500,000 annual contract, and the suspension of other state contracts pending a company audit.