High ranking NY cop charged with stopping workplace harassment retires after he’s outed as author of vile racist posts on message board for police officers
Police equality ombdusman retires after chatroom posts allegedly, exposes him as racist
High ranking New York police official accused of secretly posting racist comments on a law enforcement message board opted for early retirement from the NYPD
Deputy Inspector James Frances Kobel, 50, submitted his papers Monday, after he was slapped with a 30-day suspension without pay while the NYPD probes his alleged posts
Kobel posted under the name “Clouseau” on the Law Enforcement Rant, a message board where current and former cops gripe about politics, police matters and the media
Even by the website’s vitriolic standards, scores of recent posts by a user who calls himself “Clouseau” have been especially disturbing, Investigators said
The posts often were using racist remarks and insults, according to NYC Council’s Oversight and Investigations Division
NY state Rep. Ritchie Torres, says Dep Chief Kobel shouldn’t have been given the chance to retire
“Resigning in the cover of night doesn’t erase his actions. He must be held accountable,” Torres said
Kobel is the “tip of the iceberg. There are untold numbers of officers lurking on these online message boards, trafficking in the vilest form of bigotry,” Torres said
A high-ranking NYPD official accused of secretly posting racist comments on a law enforcement message board has retired from the Police Department.
Deputy Inspector James Kobel, 50, put in his papers Monday, after he was hit with a 30-day suspension without pay while the NYPD probes his alleged posts, a police spokesman confirmed.
Investigators said that even by the website’s vitriolic standards, scores of recent posts by a user who calls himself “Clouseau” have been especially disturbing.
The Council report found more than 500 posts between June 2019 and September 2020 under Clouseau’s handle, some incredibly vile.
In June, he encouraged officers to call out sick during the George Floyd protests, writing, “Sadly the blue flu needs to be spread nationwide and more furious than the Wuhan Flu.”
Between the summer of 2019 and earlier this fall, “Clouseau” posted hundreds of messages on the Rant, many of which attacked Black people, Puerto Ricans, Hasidic Jews and others with an unbridled sense of animus.
He referred to former President Barack Obama as a “Muslim savage” and called the Bronx district attorney, Darcel D. Clark, who is Black, “a gap-toothed wildebeest.”
He also referred to New Yorko Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie as a “savage,” and to Mayor de Blasio’s son Dante as “brillohead.”
Kobel posted under the name “Clouseau” on the Law Enforcement Rant, a message board where current and former cops gripe about politics, police matters and the media, often using racist remarks and insults, according to a November report by the City Council’s Oversight and Investigations Division.
Now, city investigators say they have amassed evidence that “Clouseau” is a high-ranking police official. And not just any high-ranking official. The culprit was a cop assigned to an office responsible for combating workplace harassment in the Police Department.
Newly sworn-in Rep. Ritchie Torres, who headed the division when he sat on the Council, said Kobel shouldn’t have been given the chance to retire.
“Resigning in the cover of night doesn’t erase his actions. He must be held accountable,” he argued.
Torres calls Kobel the “tip of the iceberg.”
“There are untold numbers of officers lurking on these online message boards, trafficking in the vilest form of bigotry,” he said.
“The siege on the Capitol demonstrates we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to online hate that can easily harden into real-life extremism.”
Kobel joined the NYPD in 1992 and was most recently in charge of equal opportunity hiring efforts and stopping workplace harassment.
Chris Monahan, the head of the Captains Endowment Association, said Kobel denies he made the posts but doesn’t think he’ll get a fair trial if he’s brought up on departmental charges.
“Given the current political climate and anti-police sentiment, DI Kobel did not see it as possible to get a fair administrative trial and decided to avail himself of the opportunity to file for retirement,” Monahan said in a statement.
At the outset of the Internal Affairs inquiry, Kobel voluntarily provided investigators access to his electronic devices.
The consensus was that the postings were not in keeping with his public persona and reputation, an assessment echoed the appraisals of several current and former co-workers, of the inspector as being quiet, low-key and strait-laced.
There was the possibility that he had been framed by someone who had purposely peppered the posts with details about his life.
The inquiry turned however, after more evidence that pointed to Kobel, including an email on his personal computer from the Rant message board that acknowledged his screen name was “Clouseau.”
Investigators also found on his personal cellphone a copy of the digital photo the anonymous writer used on the message board as an avatar — a picture of the Peter Sellers character Inspector Clouseau from the film “The Pink Panther.”
The posts have been taken down since the Council began its inquiry, and the profile deleted.
Leave a Reply