A police lieutenant in Virginia was recently fired for donating to the legal defense of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.
According to the Washington Examiner, former Lt. William Kelly of Norfolk made an anonymous $25 contribution in September to support the teen charged with homicide for shooting two protesters during last summer’s unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Keep your head up”
Along with his donation, Kelly reportedly added a message indicating that he believed Rittenhouse “did nothing wrong.”
“God bless,” the message stated. “Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up.”
Although Kelly claimed that every “rank and file police officer supports” the defendant, it became clear in the wake of a recent report by The Guardian that his bosses did not approve.
The officer was initially placed on administrative duty earlier this month after his donation was publicized in the article. Four days later, Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer announced that he had accepted the recommendation of Police Chief Larry Boone to fire Kelly.
“His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve,” Filer added. “The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”
“When the public loses trust”
Boone also weighed in, declaring that a “police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them.”
Kelly is reportedly left with the option to appeal his termination as provided for under applicable city ordinances. A police union representative insists that Kelly’s termination was not handled fairly and called for “a full, transparent investigation” of the circumstances.
“But after 72 hours, I do not believe that is what we got,” Clay Messick said. “It is hard to call this fair.”
Other public servants have also been caught up in the controversy, including a Utah paramedic who was reportedly tracked down by a local reporter over evidence of a $10 donation to Rittenhouse’s defense.
Rittenhouse was released from jail on bail in November and is set to face trial later this year, the Examiner notes. While his actions were widely condemned by many in the mainstream media, his defenders claim that he acted in self-defense when he killed two individuals and wounded another as riots plagued Kenosha following the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.