Police officer gets fired after giving $25 to Kyle Rittenhouse defence fund

Oliver O'Connell
·2 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A police officer has been fired after it was revealed he donated to a legal defence fund set up for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.

Officials in Norfolk, Virginia said that Lt William Kelly had violated city and departmental policies when he made an anonymous donation of $25 to the fund but used his city email address.

Mr Kelly’s identity was revealed in a data breach of a Christian crowdfunding website that showed donors’ email addresses, The Guardian reports.

A number of police officers and public officials were listed as having donated money to similar funds for far-right activists and accused vigilantes, as well as members of law enforcement accused of crimes. The breach was shared with journalists by the transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets.

A comment attached to the seemingly anonymous donation reportedly read: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

It continued: “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

An internal investigation followed after the donation came to light.

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone said in a statement that Mr Kelly was initially reassigned to another division pending the results of an administrative investigation, WAVY reports.

Mr Kelly was an 18-year veteran of the department and an executive officer of internal affairs for the past two months.

Norfolk city manager Chip Filer said in a statement on Tuesday that he had accepted the recommendation of Chief Boone that Mr Kelly be relieved of duty.

“His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve,” he said.

“The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”

In a separate statement, Chief Boone said the force “did not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”

Mr Kelly can appeal the decision.

Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with murder and attempted murder for shooting and killing two people and wounding a third at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August, 2020.

Eighteen-year-old Mr Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty and has been free on $2m bail donated by supporters through crowdfunding appeals. His trial is expected to begin on 1 November.

Protests and violent demonstrations erupted in Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officer Rusten Sheskey who was responding to a report of a domestic dispute. Mr Blake was left paralysed by the incident.

Read More

Val Demmings and Jim Jordan clash over police funding

Manhattan to stop prosecuting prostitution, dismissing cases dating back decades

Pelosi floats new proposal for bipartisan Jan. 6 commission