Norfolk Police Lt. William Kelly was only roughly 10 months from being a 20-year veteran of the department, at which point he would have been eligible to have received his retirement savings without a penalty. He was fired from Norfolk Police Department in April, when he was suddenly left desperate to find affordable health insurance for himself, 그의 부인, who is sick with cancer, and their three kids.
“I thought I was a free man in America expressing his personal opinion to somebody, giving some words of encouragement and making a simple donation,” Kelly said during a Friday morning interview with Fox News.
Rittenhouse faces multiple charges, including homicide and being a minor in possession of a firearm, after he was accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during riots in Kenosha, 위스콘신. He has said he fired his weapon while defending himself.
켈리, 42, said he donated to a GiveSendGo account to benefit Rittenhouse, 지금 18, at the end of summer 2020. He registered an account using his official police department email, but said his donation was anonymous.
A message included with the donation stated: “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.”
Kelly did not place the donation during work hours, 그는 말했다. He didn’t hear anything about the contribution for months, until the morning of Friday, 4 월 16.
“I was getting ready for work one morning and I got a phone call from a fellow police officer who was working at the central desk,” 그는 회상했다.
His colleague was calling about a report released that morning by 수호자, which detailed how a “data breach” revealed how Kelly, who was a sergeant at the time, was among police officials who had donated to Rittenhouse’s fund.
“I only read the portion that was in relation to me, and I immediately called my boss, let him know what had happened,” 켈리가 말했다.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal,” 그는 폭스 뉴스에 말했다. “I didn’t think that anything I said was egregious. I didn’t think that my opinion was outside the realm of normal public discourse. 그래서, I honestly did not think it was going to be a big deal.”
Kelly said he understood why he shouldn’t have used his work email address, but said using the city-issued email address was “very common” among police department personnel.
Later that Friday he was interviewed by higher-ranking police officials and provided statements to the Internal Affairs Division, to which Kelly had been assigned.
“I remember asking, before we began the statement, what I was being investigated for. And they told me that it was going to be for using a city email account for personal business. And then later on, they said it could possibly be something about conduct unbecoming,” 그는 말했다. “Being in internal affairs, as a sergeant and as lieutenant, I knew that those weren’t things that ended people’s careers.”
By midday, he was transferred from the internal affairs to the Third Patrol Division.
“I was told that they had to look out for the department,” Kelly continued. “I didn’t object to being transferred – I understand that public perception is very important in the 21st century and public trust is very important.”
Kelly ran into Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone at work on Friday, after the department’s top cop had been made aware of the matter.
“He was talking with the city manager on the sidewalk. I greeted him, he called me over and he just put his hands on my shoulders and didn’t say anything for a while,” Kelly recalled. “And then he kind of patted my shoulder with his hand and said, ‘Bad. We’ll talk later.'”
Kelly began hearing whispers over the weekend about how he might be terminated on Monday. He called Boone sometime between Saturday and Sunday, but the call was sent to voicemail.
“I texted him, I told him that I just wanted to know if I was going to be fired. I told her that if I was going to be fired. ‘I’d like to know if it’s going to be immediate or if it’s going to be something that affords me the chance to get health insurance. I’ve got family members with some severe illnesses,’” 그는 계속했다, as he began to choke up.