The Norfolk Police Department (NPD) is investigating a report that one of their high-ranking officers donated to the defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse, the man who fatally shot two protesters during Jacob Blake demonstrations in Kenosha last year.
In an explosive report from The Guardian, Sgt. William Kelly, who served as the executive officer of NPD’s internal affairs division, made an anonymous $25 donation to the Kenosha shooter’s defense fund back in September. The alleged monetary gift included 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. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”
Although the donation was anonymous, Kelly used his official email address, which was linked to himself.
On Friday (April 16), Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone released a statement responding to the allegations. “The Norfolk Police Department’s vision is to provide a safe environment for communities, businesses and visitors to the City of Norfolk,” the statement read. “We value Service, Honor, Integrity, Equality and Leadership. In the face of civil unrest and social injustices, we maintain this standard and focus when serving the citizens of Norfolk through policing services and authentic community engagement.”
“The law enforcement profession is facing a difficult juncture as recent events have revealed the significance of courageous police leadership to hold officers accountable through due process who violate department policies,” the statement continued. “I am aware of the allegations leveraged against an officer of this department and have directed an administrative investigation to ensure department policies and procedures were not violated.”
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander also issued a statement, calling the donation “alarming” and saying that it is “by all means not consistent with the values of our city or the standards set for our employees.”
Kelly has reportedly been reassigned to another division pending the outcome of the investigation.