A former Virginia cop is demanding his job back after he was let go following his $25 donation to Kyle Rittenhouse's defense, which the officer had thought had been made anonymously.
Former Norfolk Police Lieutenant William Kelly has told The Daily Mail, in an interview given on the day Rittenhouse's not-guilty verdict came in, that he deserves his job back from the "hypocrite" police chief who fired him.
Kelly, 42, made headlines in April after it was revealed he'd donated to a defense fund through Give Send Go and left the message, "God Bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You've done nothing wrong. Every rank-and-file police officer supports you." His name was discovered by a hacker group, which later leaked names to the media, namely The Guardian.
Kelly's actions were deemed "egregious" at the time, though the former officer said he made the donation anonymously to specifically keep his department away from his personal feelings about the case. The department, however, claimed Kelly had "eroded" trust with the public and violated department policy.
The ex-officer has since filed a grievance with the city over his being let go, which some activists believe looks especially bad in light of Rittenhouse's acquittal.
The former police lieutenant believes, however, the actual issue is a bias running through the ranks. He claims he was punished not for having an opinion but for having the wrong opinion.
In his filed grievance, Kelly includes a picture of Police Chief Larry Boone appearing at a Black Lives Matter protest last year in full uniform and while on duty. He is holding a Black Lives Matter sign with the names of people who have been the victims of police shootings, including some in Norfolk.
"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," Kelly said.
The effects of his firing could lead to widespread trouble for police officers, Kelly later added, saying officers have approached him concerned about expressing personal political opinions for fear of people doxxing them with the media, and of them subsequently losing their jobs for having the wrong opinion.
Kelly has seen a wave of support since his firing, especially from conservative activists. Author and commenter Candace Owens has been promoting her own crowdfunding campaign for the former officer, which has raised over $200,000.