NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A high-ranking Norfolk Police officer who donated to the defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse has been fired from the police department.
Kyle Rittenhouse is the man charged with the murder of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August.
According to the Guardian newspaper on Friday, Lieutenant William Kelly, who served as the executive officer of NPD’s internal affairs division, made an anonymous $25 donation to Rittenhouse’s defense in September. However, Kelly used an official email address linked to himself, the Guardian reported.
The revelation came after a data breach of the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo, which showed official email addresses belonging to many police officers and public officials. The information was shared with the Guardian by the transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets.
The alleged donation from Kelly was made on September 3 and included the comment, “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong” and “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”
After the donation came to light, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone said Kelly was initially reassigned to another division pending the results of an administrative investigation. He did not identify Kelly in that original statement.
According to Kelly’s LinkedIn page, he had been with the Norfolk Police Department for 18 years. He has been the executive officer of internal affairs for the last two months.
In a release sent Tuesday, April 20, Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer said he has accepted the recommendation of Chief Boone to relieve Lt. Kelly of his duty.
Read the statement from Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer below:
I have reviewed the results of the internal investigation involving Lt. William Kelly. Chief Larry Boone and I have concluded Lt. Kelly’s actions are in violation of City and departmental policies. His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve. The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.NORFOLK CITY MANAGER CHIP FILER
In a statement to local residents, Chief Boone said he wants people to know that the department will represent and uphold organizational values.
“A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them,” said Chief Boone. “We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”
Chief Boone ended his statement asking community members to continue supporting the officers of the department.
Kelly is able to appeal the decision.