A report from The Guardian shows that a lieutenant in the Norfolk Police Department sent an encouraging message and donated $25 to Kyle Rittenhouse, the man that shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong,” the message reads that accompanied the $25 donation. The donation was anonymous, but The Guardian reports that the email associated with it was the official account for Lt. William K. Kelly III, of the Norfolk PD. His current LinkedIn page lists him as an executive officer in the Internal Affairs division.
Norfolk delegate and candidate for attorney general Jay Jones is calling for Kelly’s resignation if the reports are proven true. “We have to get to the bottom of this reported conduct, which is utterly disgusting,” Jones said in a statement Friday. “If these allegations are true, Officer Kelly must resign from the Norfolk Police Department immediately.”
Rittenhouse’s case has become a unifying cause for the far-right as they rally behind the 18-year-old. The two people that Rittenhouse killed were participating in a Black Lives Matter rally in August — the rally was the result of a Kenosha police officer shooting Jacob Blake four times in the back.
Rittenhouse is facing two charges of intentional homicide on top of felony attempted homicide, possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, and reckless endangerment. “Every rank and file police officer supports you,” the message accompanying the donation continued. “Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”
Jones said that if the allegations are true and Kelly declines to resign, then action from his superiors must happen. “Should he not resign, he must be terminated,” Jones said Friday. “Kelly’s actions have broken the public’s trust and emboldened the worst elements in our society. If we are ever going to repair and strengthen the already fragile relationship between our communities and law enforcement and have a public that truly feels safe, we must root out bias and hatred in our justice system and have true accountability in policing.”
The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that Kelly has been reassigned and that Police Chief Larry Boone is looking into the situation with “an administrative investigation.”
The mayor of Norfolk called the accusations “alarming.”
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