NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk police lieutenant has been relieved of his duties following reports that he anonymously donated to a legal defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of shooting and killing two Black Lives Matter protesters last year.
Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer relieved Lt. William Kelly of his duties, on Tuesday on the recommendation of Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. The announcement comes days after reports of Kelly's donation surfaced.
"(Kelly's) egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve," Flier said in a statement. "The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”
On April 16, Kelly was initially placed on administrative duty after reports surfaced that he donated to the fund and expressed support for Rittenhouse's actions.
Rittenhouse is charged with multiple felonies, including homicide, for the shooting deaths of two Black Lives Matter protesters and the wounding of another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 25.
Those protests happened after a police officer in the city shot Jacob Blake during a domestic disturbance investigation, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
"A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them. We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community," Boone said in a statement. "I ask the community to continue to support the officers of the Norfolk Police Department as in the past knowing that right now, at this moment, they are continuing to serve and protect them.”
City officials say Kelly has the right to appeal the decision in accordance with the city's grievance procedure and applicable law.
This story was originally published by Scripps station WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.