A police lieutenant in Norfolk, Virginia finds himself unemployed today after The Guardian published personal information stolen by hackers from a christian crowdfunding website. The report contained details on the officer’s before now anonymous donation to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense.
The $25 donation from Lt. William Kelly, a 19-year veteran on the force, included an encouraging message to then 17-year-old:
“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong… Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”
Rittenhouse remains on trial for shooting three people, and killing two, during the August 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
He maintains that he only shot after being attacked—a fact the prosecution’s star witness corroborated.
Police1 further reports:
Kelly was transferred to patrol, then placed on administrative leave. An investigation concluded his actions violated city and departmental policies and he was fired. He filed a grievance disputing each of the policy violations and making his own claims, including that his dismissal violated his right to free speech. This article addresses the First Amendment claim.
The city contended that when Kelly posted, “Every rank and file police officer supports you,” from his official email without any disclaimer he was speaking in a private capacity, he presented the impression he was representing, giving opinions, or otherwise speaking on behalf of the city.
Public perception and trust were of significant concern to the city. The city manager said, “His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve. The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”
The police chief stated, “A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them. We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.