Officer Who Displayed Nazi Insignia Will Receive Over $1.5 Million To Resign

REUTERS/Alexandra Winkler

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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An assistant investigations chief in Washington state is being paid over $1 million to resign from his position after being disciplined for taping a Nazi symbol on his office door.

The city of Kent will pay former Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell $1.5 million to resign after being reprimanded in July 2021 for hanging the symbol for the rank of Obergruppenführer, a position in the SS in Nazi Germany, above the nameplate on his office door in September 2020, reported The New York Times (NYT).

City officials conducted an internal affairs investigation into Kammerzell after an officer reported the Nazi display, which concluded with the former officer receiving a two-week suspension and mandatory training, according to the city of Kent’s statement.

The officer who reported the insignia told investigators that Kammerzell often made jokes about the Holocaust, including a frequent favorite about his grandfather dying as a Nazi camp guard, reported the NYT.

The city of Kent defended its decision to allow Kammerzell to keep his position, saying that it is “confident” an independent arbitrator would have ruled to allow him back onto the force, the NYT reported. (RELATED: Seattle Implodes After Defunding The Police)

Kammerzell served on the city’s police force for 27 years without previous discipline or community complaints before this incident. The city placed Kammerzell on paid administrative leave and asked for his resignation in December 2021 when the community renewed their calls for him to be removed from the police department, according to NYT.

“When [Kammerzell] was placed on leave, we made a statement that he would not be returned to work. We also noted that under federal and state law, the City was unable to terminate the Assistant Chief or otherwise change the discipline imposed based on double jeopardy principles. As a result, we noted that his resignation would come at a high cost to the City,” the city said in a statement.

Kammerzell initially demanded $3,112,317 for his resignation, but settled with the city of Kent for $1,520,000, reported the city.

“While this is a substantial sum, we strongly believe that settling this matter will be a substantial step towards meeting our commitment to the community and continuing with the excellent work the Police Department is doing,” the city stated.

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla talked about the effect the investigation had on the rest of the officers in a video released by the city in January. “It’s been devastating to our department,” Padilla said.