Virginia cop fired after donating to defense fund of Kenosha shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse

Francis Akhalbey April 22, 2021
Lt. William Kelly was fired from the Norfolk Police Department after investigations established he donated money to White vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse -- Photo Credit: Antioch Police Department via AP

A Norfolk police officer, who was identified in an exposé as being part of a group of police and public officials that donated money to Kyle Rittenhouse, has been relieved of his duties after authorities conducted an internal investigation into the allegation.

The now 18-year-old Rittenhouse is standing trial for fatally shooting two men and injuring another during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August. Following the White vigilante’s arrest that same month, his lawyer and other supporters set up a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds to post his $2 million bail. He was able to post bail in November after receiving millions in donations, CBS News reported.

But a data breach on a Christian crowdfunding platform by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets revealed multiple law enforcement and public officials made donations and offered support to Rittenhouse, the exposé by The Guardian revealed. And though some of the officials donated anonymously, Distributed Denial of Secrets was able to successfully identify them as they used their professional email addresses to send the funds.

Among those donors was Norfolk police officer Lt. William Kelly. The fired cop, who was the executive officer of internal affairs at the Norfolk police department, allegedly donated $25 and even sent a word of encouragement to Rittenhouse. “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong,” Kelly reportedly wrote. “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Kelly was placed on administrative duty pending an investigation after the exposé. And on Tuesday, Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer in a statement announced his termination, saying the action was taken following a recommendation by Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone, CNN reported.

“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,” Filer said in the statement. “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.”

Kelly can, however, file an appeal against his termination. Boone said they “do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”

“I ask the community to continue to support the officers of the Norfolk Police Department as in the past knowing that right now, at this moment, they are continuing to serve and protect them,” Boone added.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 22, 2021


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