A police officer who was fired for donating $25 to a legal defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse said he’s only more confident in his decision to support Rittenhouse after watching the Wisconsin teen’s murder trial unfold.
William Kelly was terminated from the Norfolk Police Department in April after it was revealed that he donated to Rittenhouse’s defense. Now, the officer is trying to get his job back, and he said the Rittenhouse trial only further bolstered his case.
“When I saw the video of the shooting, and I saw the videos of everything that happened with Mr. Rittenhouse and the other protesters beforehand, at the time I thought that it was a strong case for self-defense, and my donation was just to give him that chance to make that argument in front of a judge and jury,” Kelly told the Daily Caller. “I’m even more confident in his claim for self-defense. My opinion is still the same.”
When asked if the trial made him feel more justified in his decision to donate and support Rittenhouse, Kelly said “correct.” Kelly is still awaiting a decision in a grievance he’s filed with the Department in an attempt to get his job back.
Cop fired for Rittenhouse support receives $200k in donations after verdict https://t.co/K1iBGWuOJ7
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 22, 2021
If his grievance isn’t successful, Kelly and his attorney Robert Hogge said the materials are being collected for a lawsuit on both first amendment and due process grounds.
“They really didn’t have much of a conversation with me. I pretty much was presented with the documents that are required by state law for firing a police officer,” Kelly said. “They gave me all the paperwork in one sitting, I didn’t have a chance to respond to anything, there really wasn’t a discussion or a conversation.”
Nobody knew about the donation to Rittenhouse’s defense, Kelly said, until the Guardian published an article sharing the identity of him and other donors in April. The information was available as the result of a data leak. Kelly said the Guardian did not contact him before publishing his name and occupation.
None of this would have happened without that article being published, Kelly said. But once it was, the mob descended upon the communications channels for the Norfolk PD, and his termination came swiftly.
“When the article was published at the Guardian’s website, people started to call, and when people called, those officers who were fielding those calls called me to let me know. I informed my supervisor what happened, and my supervisor and I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Kelly said. “I had been in internal affairs for years, I’m familiar with their policies, I knew that I didn’t break any policies.”
“As the day progressed and they received more and more phone calls and emails and social media posts, it was clear that the investigation was becoming more serious.” (RELATED: Facebook Labels Rittenhouse Shooting ‘Mass Murder,’ Removes Posts Defending Teen)
The media mob didn’t just come after Kelly. The Guardian also revealed that Craig Shepherd, a Utah paramedic, donated $10 to the defense fund. Shepherd was visited at his home by journalist Jason Nguyen from ABC4 in Utah, who claimed he was trying to get Shepherd’s “side” of the story.
The Guardian published the names of multiple other Rittenhouse donors, as well as the names of some police officers in Wisconsin who donated to a fund for Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake, leading to widespread protest and rioting in Kenosha.