Lieutenant William Kelly wants his job back at the Norfolk Police Department after being fired for a $25 anonymous donation he made to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund in April 2021. Kelly was a 19-year police veteran ten months away from his pension vesting when the Norfolk Police Department fired him after hackers exposed his donation.
Kelly spoke to The Daily Mail about his case. He said: “It wasn’t people local, it was people from all around the country who read an article and sent a nasty tweet. In the absence of that outcry, there would not have been any kind of disciplinary action against me, I’m confident.
“Everything I’m saying is just my personal opinion. I’ve been a homicide detective, a violent crimes investigator for years. I have a background. I watched the video of the shooting and 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.
“I was very surprised when he was charged soon after the shooting with these murders and the shooting of the third victim.
“I was interested in giving him the chance to defend himself in front of a jury. I know that lawyers are expensive, and it’s hard sometimes to get the message out there. I wanted to make sure that he had the means necessary to make his claim in court.
“It mattered. The comments I made, my belief that he has a strong claim for self-defense was a personal opinion. I didn’t want my city or police department to be associated with it, so I chose to donate anonymously.
“It was only after the hackers broke into it that they were able to connect those dots,’ he said.
“If people consumed as much information as I did about the case they may have come to a different conclusion. And honestly even if they did consume as much information as I did and they came to a different conclusion – that’s fine.
“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.
“My opinion on the self-defense claim of Mr. Rittenhouse has no impact on my ability to do my job as a police officer.
“If I had a different opinion and I donated to a fund for the victims and made comments about how Mr. Rittenhouse was a murderer, nobody would have cared or tried to get me fired.
“It made me feel disposable. Not only how it affected me, how it affected other officers. I was contacted by others who said they immediately deleted their social media accounts after I got fired out of fear that they would go through them and find something innocuous to use against them.
“I’ve been contacted by officers who say, “what if Trump runs in 2024 and I put a sign for him in my front yard, can media get a hold of that? If enough people complain, will I lose my job?”
“The effects of this kind of censorship are wide. It ripples through the entire department. It’s a chilling effect.
“I love being a cop, it’s a part of me and who I am. It was a huge hit to me to lose my job. If I got the chance again, I’d jump on it.”
From The Daily Mail:
In his grievance, he points to the fact that the police chief Larry Boone attended a BLM protest in May last year in full uniform, while on duty.
In the photo, Boone is holding a sign that reads Black Lives Matter, with the names of people who have been shot by cops – including some in Norfolk – around it.
‘The hypocrisy is dumbfounding. For the leader of our organization to be able to advocate support for a movement that is at the very least divisive in America today, in uniform while on duty… he was holding carried the name of a person who had recently been shot by a Norfolk police officer.