A Virginia officer was fired for donating to a Kyle Rittenhouse defense fund.
He now demands his job back.
Norfolk Police Lieutenant William ‘Bill’ Kelly was fired after it was revealed he donated cash to a Kyle Rittenhouse defense fund. Even after his discharge, he stands by his decision to support the teen, who was found not guilty on all counts and is now a free man.
BREAKING: The jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of all homicide and other charges for killing 2 people and wounding 1 with an assault-style weapon. pic.twitter.com/1htrCVI0st
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 19, 2021
Kelly, a 19-year veteran, was dismissed in April for donating anonymously to the teenager’s then-growing defense fund. The dad-of-three made a $25 donation to a Give Send Go online campaign for Rittenhouse’s legal team. Alongside his contribution, he wrote:
“God Bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank-and-file police officer supports you.”
It wasn’t until his name appeared in an article by The Guardian that the Virginia cop faced backlash following his donation. His details and those of other officers who contributed to the fund had been hacked by a group and provided to the media.
The police chief and city manager in Norfolk went so far as to call Kelly’s actions “egregious.”
Speaking to Daily Mail, the fired officer explained:
“Everything I’m saying is just my personal opinion. I’ve been a homicide detective, a violent crimes investigator for years. I have a background.
I watched the video of the shooting and I’d seen the video of the journalists of Mr. Rittenhouse before the shooting and the protesters before the shooting and I thought it painted a pretty clear picture that Mr. Rittenhouse had a very strong claim for self-defense.
I was very surprised when he was charged soon after the shooting with these murders and the shooting of the third victim.”
“I was interested in giving him the chance to defend himself in front of a jury. I know that lawyers are expensive, and it’s hard sometimes to get the message out there. I wanted to make sure that he had the means necessary to make his claim in court.
It mattered. The comments I made, my belief that he has a strong claim for self-defense was a personal opinion. I didn’t want my city or police department to be associated with it, so I chose to donate anonymously.
It was only after the hackers broke into it that they were able to connect those dots.”
The officer’s personal data was reportedly obtained by a hacker group called Distributed Denial of Secrets.
Just a day after the information was out. the Norfolk Police Department was receiving calls from all over the world demanding Kelly’s dismissal. He commented:
“It wasn’t people local, it was people from all around the country who read an article and sent a nasty tweet. In the absence of that outcry, there would not have been any kind of disciplinary action against me, I’m confident.”
Explaining his position on Kyle Rittenhouse’s case, Kelly said:
“If people consumed as much information as I did about the case they may have come to a different conclusion. And honestly, even if they did consume as much information as I did and they came to a different conclusion – that’s fine.
This is America. You can agree with your neighbors and other people in your community and you can disagree with them. Just because someone has a different opinion than you, it doesn’t mean you should destroy their lives, take their job away.
My opinion on the self-defense claim of Mr. Rittenhouse has no impact on my ability to do my job as a police officer.”
The Virginia cop believes the only reason he was fired was that he supported Rittenhouse.
JUST IN – Jury finds Kyle Rittenhouse NOT GUILTY on all counts. pic.twitter.com/6R3tklCc7W
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 19, 2021
According to Kelly, his views regarding the issue are the only explanation why he lost his job. He noted:
“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.”
Commenting on the fact that the police chief Larry Boone attended a BLM protest in May last year in full uniform, while on duty, he added:
“The hypocrisy is dumbfounding. For the leader of our organization to be able to advocate support for a movement that is at the very least divisive in America today, in uniform while on duty… he was holding carried the name of a person who had recently been shot by a Norfolk police officer.
The sign demanded justice for that person, but that shooting was still under investigation to determine whether or not that officer should be charged criminally. It’s very inconsistent.
Yet I cannot, off-duty, on my own time make a donation and some comments that are well within the realm of public, acceptable discourse?”
According to Kelly, he was fired for daring to have a different opinion.
The cop claims the censorship of right-wing political views is “chilling” police officers all over the U.S. He said:
“I’ve been contacted by officers who say, ‘What if Trump runs in 2024 and I put a sign for him in my front yard, can media get a hold of that? If enough people complain, will I lose my job?’
The effects of this kind of censorship are wide. It ripples through the entire department. It’s a chilling effect.”
Ever since April, the fired cop and his wife have been surviving on her salary as a school teacher and his savings. Hopefull to get back the job he loves so much, Kelly affirmed:
“I love being a cop, it’s a part of me and who I am. It was a huge hit to me to lose my job. If I got the chance again, I’d jump on it.”
Although Rittenhouse has been vindicated, the cop does not believe the public disclosure will change.
“I don’t think the discourse will change. People are dug in on their heels… they’ll point to some other boogie-man as an excuse as to why he was acquitted. They won’t be forced to look at the facts of the case. I don’t think they’ll change their mind.
Honestly, most of America is pretty polarized. People on both sides who seem to be ideologically dug in to their position. They try to view fact patterns through it and it’s hard to break free from it.”
Lieutenant William ‘Bill’ Kelly is now hoping for a hearing date at the end of January. However, he wants to resolve the issue privately before then.
BREAKING: Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty pic.twitter.com/dl6K37mjvd
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 19, 2021