Virginia police officer who was fired over $25 donation to Rittenhouse defense wants his job back

Back in April, police officer William Kelly was fired from his job in Norfolk, Virginia after 19 years of service. He was fired after making a $25 donation to the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. At the time the Norfolk City Manager said, “His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve.”

The comments in question were the ones Kelly left along with his donation. “God Bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank-and-file police officer supports you,” he wrote. However, the comment and the donation were both made anonymously. So how could an anonymous comment possibly erode trust between the department and the public?

Friday William Kelly spoke with the Daily Mail and described why he made the donation and how his name first came to light thanks to a group of hackers.

‘Everything I’m saying is just my personal opinion. I’ve been a homicide detective, a violent crimes investigator for years. I have a background. I watched the video of the shooting and I’d seen the video of the journalists of Mr. Rittenhouse before the shooting and the protesters before the shooting and I thought it painted a pretty clear picture that Mr. Rittenhouse had a very strong claim for self-defense…

He logged on and donated, making sure to leave out personal details because he says he didn’t want to associate himself with the police department…

‘It was only after the hackers broke into it that they were able to connect those dots,’ he said.

A hacker group called ‘Distributed Denial of Secrets’ obtained his name and email address from the fund and provided it to The Guardian, which published a story including his name. The Daily Dot followed.

Kelly said that within a day of his name being published, people from around the country and around the world were calling the Norfolk police department to demand his firing. Kelly feels that if more people had looked closely at the case early on, they wouldn’t have been so upset about his donation. And even if they still disagreed with his conclusions, that doesn’t justify trying to end his career. “Just because someone has a different opinion than you, it doesn’t mean you should destroy their lives, take their job away,” he said.

Kelly filed a grievance about his firing which notes that the city’s police chief marched with BLM protesters last year while in uniform. He feels that if the Chief can take a position like that while on duty and in uniform, aligning with a group not everyone agrees with or supports, he ought to be able to make a private, anonymous donation on his own time.

He hopes to be reinstated soon. He was only months away from 20 years of service when he was fired. For the last several months he and his wife and three kids have been surviving on his savings and his wife’s earnings from her job as a teacher. A hearing on his reinstatement could be held as soon as January. Whatever happens to him, he isn’t optimistic about people changing their minds about the Rittenhouse case. “People are dug in on their heels… they’ll point to some other boogie-man as an excuse as to why he was acquitted. They won’t be forced to look at the facts of the case,” he said. At this point, given how the media has handled the case, it’s pretty hard to argue with him.

Here’s the interview the Daily Mail did with Kelly: