A police lieutenant in Virginia lost his job this week after he donated $ 25 to a legal-protection fund and expressed praise to Kyle Rittenhouse, teenager charged with killing two people in the year. last in protests in Kenosha, Wis, officials said.
Lieutenant William Kelly, a member of the Norfolk Police Department for almost 19 years, was dismissed by city officials on Tuesday, who argued his conduct violated the department’s policies and undermining public confidence in law enforcement.
The decision comes just four days after Lieutenant Kelly was administratively administered by the Police Department in the context of British newspaper The Guardian and other media reported that he gave the money last September to Rittenhouse’s advocacy support through GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding website. has been compromised by hackers.
Mr. Rittenhouse has become an annoying cause for some conservatives since he was accused of shooting three people, two of whom were dead, last summer when streets in Kenosha broke out. demonstrates the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. , by a policeman.
Lieutenant Kelly, 41, became the executive of internal affairs for the Norfolk Police Department last month, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His name appeared on a list of sponsors that were distributed as a secret, a watchdog group said in a Twitter live message Wednesday night that they had received the list from a external sources. It shared documents with The New York Times.
On the GiveSendGo crowdfunding page, Lieutenant Kelly checked that he wanted anonymity but appeared to have used his Norfolk city email address to make a donation, including a message of encouragement to Mr. Rittenhouse.
“God bless,” the message said. “Thank you for your courage. Raise your head. You did nothing wrong. Every rank and police file is there for you. Don’t be discouraged by the actions of the real political elite.” law exam ”.
Chip Filer, the Norfolk city manager, said in a statement on Tuesday that he had accepted the sheriff’s proposal to reduce the duties of Lieutenant Kelly and Lt. Kelly had the right to appeal the decision.
“His serious comments undermined trust between the Norfolk Police Department and the people they have sworn to serve,” said Filer. “The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold employees accountable.”
Larry D. Boone, the chief city police officer, said in a statement Tuesday that Lieutenant Kelly’s actions were inconsistent with the department’s values.
“A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duties serve and protect them,” said Sheriff Boone. “We do not want the perception of any individual officer undermining the relationship between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”
Lieutenant Kelly did not immediately respond to the message seeking comment left on Wednesday night at the phone number listed for him. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
Norfolk officials did not specify which Police Department policy Lieutenant Kelly had violated, nor immediately responded to requests for comment on his condition on Wednesday night.
While Lieutenant Kelly was not a member of the local police union because of his rank, the head of the 412’s Norfolk IBPO Local Police Alliance, in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot’s newspaper Norfolk, have defended Lieutenant Kelly and said an investigation into his actions. was proceeded “too hastily.”
“We were hoping for a transparent, complete investigation,” union head Clay Messick told the newspaper Tuesday. “But after 72 hours, I don’t believe that’s what we got. It is difficult to call this a fair ”.
Small donors and deep-pocketed conservative celebrities donated money to Mr. Rittenhouse, who defamed the police. His guardians assumed he was acting in self-defense and tried to protect the city from destruction by patrolling the streets with a military-style rifle.
Mike Lindell, MyPillow’s chief executive and an ally of former President Donald J. Trump, made a donation that brought Mr. Rittenhouse’s bail fund “ahead,” wrote L. Lin Wood, Rittenhouse’s attorney. last fall. Twitter.
More recently, Mr. Rittenhouse’s less well-known financial backers have been identified as a result of the hacks. In Utah, a medical officer drew scrutiny this month after it emerged that he had provided a government email address for a $ 10 donation to protect Mr. Rittenhouse, ABC4 News reporting.
A GiveSendGo representative declined to comment on Wednesday night.