FPI / November 22, 2021
A Norfolk, Virginia police lieutenant who was fired for anonymously donating to a Kyle Rittenhouse defense fund said he is demanding his job back from the "hypocrite" police chief who fired him.
William "Bill" Kelly, a 19-year veteran of the force and father-of-three, said he made a $25 donation to a Give Send Go online campaign for Rittenhouse’s legal team after watching social media videos and journalists’ footage from the August 2020 Kenosha riots.
Kelly was fired after his anonymous donation was leaked by hackers and leftist media.
Kelly told the Daily Mail that he was fired for daring to have an opinion that went against woke officials and public pressure to condemn Rittenhouse.
"The outcome of the trial has nothing to do with my vindication — right or wrong, an American has the right to express their opinion within the realm of public discourse," Kelly said. "That same freedom exists regardless to the outcome."
Kelly also noted that Police Chief Larry Boone had attended a Black Lives Matter protest in May last year in full uniform, while on duty.
Boone is seen in a photo from the protest holding a sign that reads Black Lives Matter, with the names of people who have been shot by cops — including some in Norfolk.
"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 a sign that 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," Kelly said.
"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?"
Kelly told the Daily Mail that the censorship of conservative political views is having a "chilling effect" on police officers nationwide.
They feel "disposable" unless they submit to the leftists' ideology, he said.
"It made me feel disposable. Not only how it affected me, how it affected other officers. I was contacted by others who said they immediately deleted their social media accounts after I got fired out of fear that they would go through them and find something innocuous to use against them," Kelly 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?' "
Kelly added: "The effects of this kind of censorship are wide. It ripples through the entire department. It's a chilling effect."
Free Press International