Now That Rittenhouse is Acquitted, Can Officer Kelly Have His Job Back?

Norfolk Police Department

The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse produced a number of immediate changes beyond the custodial status of the 18-year-old himself. GoFundMe lifted its ban on people contributing to his defense . . . after his defense was over and the verdict was in. Some media outlets finally reported on evidence that supported his self-defense claims and one critic called for “revisiting” the clearly biased reporting in the case. However, there is one person whose status has not changed: Norfolk Police Officer William Kelly who was fired for simply donating to the Rittenhouse defense fund and writing a supportive note as a private citizen. He made the comment and donation anonymously. The only thing more shocking than Kelly’s loss of his job is that Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer and Police Chief Larry Boone have retained theirs.

I criticized the firing of Kelly last April as a blatant attack on free speech. The termination occurred after Kelly made a $25 donation to the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. He made the donation anonymously and added the comment “God Bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank-and-file police officer supports you.”

Early in the Rittenhouse case, activists sought to cut off Rittenhouse’s ability to raise money for his defense by harassing donors and (successfully) pressuring companies like GoFundMe to block contributions. A criminal defense in any case (let alone a high-profile case with ramped up prosecution teams) is hugely expensive. That financial threat can prompt some to plead guilty. That is why people want to help fund such defenses to guarantee true access to a fair trial. Activists and GoFundMe did everything they could to block such efforts and increase the pressure on this teenager to just plead guilty.

Back to Kelly. This is an officer who had served for almost 20 years when he decided to contribute to the defense. As a police officer, Kelly likely saw the defense grounds more clearly than most people. The jury ultimately agreed with his view that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Nevertheless, activists learned his identity and demanded his termination. Filer rushed to satisfy the mob. He fired Kelly with the support of Boone and declared “his egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve.”

The “egregious comments” were to say anonymously that there are officers who support Rittenhouse and believe in his defense. Kelly has pointed out that Boone was allowed in uniform to march with Black Lives Matter protesters. Yet, he was fired for anonymously making the supportive donation and statement to a legal defense fund.

Various public officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have contributed to the The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which “pays criminal bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot otherwise afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.”  They have the right to support such legal defense funds, which serve to assure that litigants have the means to defend themselves. So does Kelly.

When Kelly was fired, many on the left celebrated despite the fact that he was being denied his right to free speech and free association. It is a pattern that I have written about in the past as public employees are fired for statements on social media or associations in their private lives.  This includes a New Jersey police officer fired for calling BLM protesters “terrorists” on her personal Facebook account. Most recently, a court reinstated Loudon teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross, who was fired for speaking publicly against gender identification policies.

As it stands, Kelly was fired for supporting (again anonymously) a teenager who was ultimately acquitted of all charges by a jury. He was fired for contributing to a legal fund that would guarantee that the accused would be allowed to put on a full defense. That is in the interest of justice.

Yet, Filer and Boone remain employed despite using their official positions to retaliate for the use of free speech. Kelly and his family continue to appeal his firing as they struggle to survive on the teacher’s salary of his wife.  The dictator Idi Amin once proclaimed “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.” That seems the standard applied in Norfolk where even anonymous support for a legal defense is grounds for termination.

188 thoughts on “Now That Rittenhouse is Acquitted, Can Officer Kelly Have His Job Back?”

  1. Then professors need to stop teaching students to follow the unwritten rules of political correctness and wokism that
    exist inside the professors’ heads. They need to stop teaching students that some speech is illegal and criminal, when it is not.
    The only laws we must follow are those passed by an actual law-making body, such as a city council or state legislature.

  2. If Americans are to have a “constitutional rule of law” nation – which distinguishes us from most nations on Earth – the written rules of the game must apply equally to everyone with an impartial referee. Imagine a football game where one side is required to follow the rules and their opponent does not. Viewers would perceive that as fraudulent.

    In the American system, the U.S. Constitution is “the supreme law of the United States” and local, state and federal laws must “circumscribe” the Constitution. The Judicial Branch courts interpret that rule book – Congress, state legislatures, clerks, police chiefs, FBI directors, etc. are required to “circumscribe” the Judicial Branch’s rulings on constitutionality.

    What that means? If we want 14th Amendment rights (equal treatment under law) for women, African-Americans, LGBT-Americans or any other individual, we must also support the same rulebook for Americans we don’t agree with. 2nd Amendment gun rights (like it or not) are also included in the rulebook. We can try to amend the written rules if an amendment or clause is fundamentally flawed but should never be subversive to the U.S. Constitution and it’s subordinate local, state and federal laws.

    If we want the rulebook to only support what we like and then change the rules (mid-game) for the voters of opposing political party, about 50% of Americans will lose faith in the rulebook altogether and the integrity of the referee – the nation will be severely divided and voters might elect a dictator or strongman leader. Is this what really happened in 2016?

    1. the nation will be severely divided and voters might elect a dictator or strongman leader. Is this is what really happened in 2016 2020

      FTFY

      2020 was rigged by the MSM and Big Tech. Trump’s presidency and Americans therein, were subjected to a roving, ongoing coup orchestrated, funded and effectuated by Obama-Biden-Hillary.

      Fin. Period. Full stop.

      Until this is admitted and corrected by the Perps, there is no United States. We are in the midst of a civil war via modern technologies. The effects on Americans, from children to elderly in nursing homes, are so deleterious that no one really grasps the damage therein. Good luck with that.

      1. Actually it predates Obama. Remember when George W. Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress violated Ronald Reagan’s legally binding treaty that prohibits torture and cruel treatment? Reagan wanted all government officials committing torture (a felony under US law) to be investigated and criminally prosecuted.

        Also under Bush do you remember violating the FISA Act (also a felony for presidents under U.S. law). FISA was created to prevent surveillance and search abuses after Watergate and Cointelpro crimes. FISA is the the exclusive legal path – one and only legal path – any president is allowed to follow. The FISA court even issued a “after-the-fact” search warrant to the Bush Administration – do the search first then apply for the warrant. Bush broke that law also allowing the “after-the-fact” exemption.

        Reagan would have criminally prosecuted many of Bush’s DOJ torture attorneys.

        1. Actually it goes back to LBJ calling Blacks the n word and using them for political power. Start there. Throw in Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick affair and….wait, you dont recall the corruption and lying of the Dems circa LBJ? Lucky for you I brought it back to your frontal cortex. So we will just stick with the present argument since I am certain you are not wishing to go back in history and practice whataboutisms

          Here is what I wrote in case you moved the goal posts

          “ 2020 was rigged by the MSM and Big Tech. Trump’s presidency and Americans therein, were subjected to a roving, ongoing coup orchestrated, funded and effectuated by Obama-Biden-Hillary.

          Fin. Period. Full stop.

          Until this is admitted and corrected by the Perps, there is no United States. We are in the midst of a civil war via modern technologies. The effects on Americans, from children to elderly in nursing homes, are so deleterious that no one really grasps the damage therein. Good luck with that.”

          Looking forward to your contortions, acrobatics and somersaults. Give us a pirouette for sheets and giggles

  3. Usually I’m opposed to the government raising children,
    but if parents are churning out armies of smash-and-grab burglars,
    not teaching them right from wrong, then maybe the government could do a
    better job of raising them. Case in point: the military. It does a good job of churning out good, decent citizens.

    1. Yeah the military is great: “According to a report published by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2016, which analyzed 55 million veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014, the current analysis indicates that an average of 20 veterans die from suicide per day.”

  4. Officer Kelly should file an official request with the ACLU of Virginia. Virginia’s ACLU wins cases just like this and have also litigated for Virginia State Troopers suing their own police department. In that case the troopers won the case against their superiors.

  5. Don’t forget Richard Marx. “It don’t mean nothin’ ’til you sign it on the dotted line.” A double-negative. He probably went to a public school run by Marxists.

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