NEW YORK (AP) – A senior New York City Police Department officer accused of posting hateful news online has decided to retire days after the department announced it would be giving him no pay suspend.
A spokesman for the NYPD confirmed Monday that Assistant Inspector James Kobel, the former head of the Bureau of Discrimination at Work, had filed retirement papers.
The NYPD opened an internal investigation into Kobel in November after he was accused of posting attacks on blacks and Jews, women and members of the LGBTQ community on a message board where officials anonymously broadcast complaints.
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Kobel was deposed as commanding officer of the Equal Opportunities Department and assigned to the transit unit. Last week the department put him on unpaid administrative leave.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Sunday that the posts were « absolutely disgusting » and « in violation of everything we have done to build a larger police force. »
The head of the Kobel union said the 29-year-old NYPD employee had retired to avoid a disciplinary hearing at which de Blasio suggested « be terminated immediately » if he is for violating the Found guilty of NYPD rules.
« Given the current political climate and the mood against the police, DI Kobel did not see it as possible to initiate a fair administrative procedure and decided to take the opportunity to apply for retirement, » said Chris Monahan, President of the Captains Endowment Association.
Kobel has been accused of posting under the pseudonym « Clouseau » for more than a year, a reference to the clumsy French detective in the « Pink Panther » films.
« Clouseau » used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to several black public figures, including Darcel Clark, Bronx District Attorney, President Barack Obama and de Blasio’s son. He ridiculed lawyer Jumaane Williams for his Tourette syndrome.
Kobel denied being « Clouseau » when the posts came to light, but conceded that the fiasco would likely end his career. In an interview with the New York Times, he asked, « Where do I go to get my reputation back? »
The allegations against Kobel were detailed in a report by a supervisory body of the city council. City council investigators have linked the « Clouseau » messages to Kobel by matching the information they contain with publicly available details about Kobel’s life and career.
The NYPD’s Equal Opportunities Bureau is responsible for preventing and investigating employment and harassment claims and has made policy changes in recent years to allow lactation rooms to allow officials to wear religious headgear and accommodate transgender officials.
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