A Virginia police officer made headlines earlier this year after he was fired from his job for donating to the defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who faced murder charges after shooting three men, two fatally, during unrest in Wisconsin last summer.
Now that that Rittenhouse has been exonerated of all charges, the fired officer says he wants his job back.
According to Breitbart, Lieutenant William Kelly had served for almost two decades with the Norfolk Police Department when he made the donation — in the amount of $25 — last spring.
Along with the money, Kelly included a message that read, “God Bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank-and-file police officer supports you.”
Although the money was given anonymously, the service hosting Rittenhouse’s fundraiser was hacked and the names of his donors made public.
Soon after, Kelly was terminated, a move that came just months prior to him becoming eligible to receive his pension, according to the Daily Mail. The department claimed his actions had undermined public trust in police.
But Breitbart noted that Norfolk police chief Larry Boone didn’t face similar consequences for attending a Black Lives Matter protest while in uniform.
“Everything I’m saying is just my personal opinion,” Kelly told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been a homicide detective, a violent crimes investigator for years.”
“I have a background,” the former cop added. “I watched the video of the shooting. I’d seen the video of the journalists of Mr. Rittenhouse before the shooting and the protesters before the shooting and I thought it painted a pretty clear picture that Mr. Rittenhouse had a very strong claim for self defense.”
Hearing slated for January
Kelly also told the Daily Mail that he specifically chose to donate anonymously to avoid the appearance that he was representing the city or its police department. “I didn’t want my city or police department to be associated with it, so I chose to donate anonymously,” Kelly said, noting that he felt pressure to fire him came from outside actors.
“It wasn’t people local, it was people from all around the country who read an article and sent a nasty tweet,” he explained. “In the absence of that outcry, there would not have been any kind of disciplinary action against me, I’m confident.” Kelly added:
This is America. You can agree with your neighbors and other people in your community and you can disagree with them. Just because someone has a different opinion than you, it doesn’t mean you should destroy their lives, take their job away.
According to Breitbart, Kelly is hoping the issue of his dismissal can be resolved before his scheduled hearing in January.