/  05.12.2021

The former Norfolk Police Department officer who was fired for donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense fund has filed a grievance with the city to get his job back.

Last month, William Kelly was terminated from his position after a data breach revealed that he was one of many who donated to Rittenhouse, the man accused of fatally shooting two protesters during the Jacob Blake demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer. Although his $25 donation was anonymous, he used his city email for the account.

Along with the monetary pledge, Kelly sent words of encouragement to Rittenhouse, who is currently facing several homicide and firearm charges.

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong,” Kelly wrote. “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer called the donation and comment “egregious” and said he broke “the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve.” However, Kelly believes it was just a “simple donation” and “simple words of encouragement from one person to another.”

As part of the grievance paperwork, Kelly and his lawyer used a photo of Chief Larry Boone, who was in uniform marching with protesters while carrying a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter.”

“I’m not saying the chief was right or wrong to carry this sign,” Attorney Raymond Hogge told WAVY 10. “I’m saying this means the City of Norfolk allows speech by officers on political matters.”

Black Lives Matter,” Hogge added. “Cops lives matter too, and when you destroy a cop’s career, then it can‘t be allowed to stand.”

Kelly said that he regrets using his city email to make the GiveSendGo account. His hearing date has not yet been set.


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