NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department’s former workplace harassment czar was fired Wednesday over allegations he posted hateful messages online, officials said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s decision to fire Deputy Inspector James Kobel came about three weeks after Kobel submitted retirement paperwork in an attempt to avoid a departmental disciplinary proceeding.
At an internal disciplinary trial last month, Kobel was found to have violated multiple department rules and regulations. Kobel did not attend the trial and it was not listed on the department’s public trial calendar.
A message seeking comment was left with Kobel’s union. Despite his firing, Kobel will retain his pension.
Late last year, Kobel was accused of posting attacks on Black and Jewish people, women, and members of the LGBTQ community on an anonymous message board where officers would air grievances. The NYPD opened an internal affairs investigation.
Kobel was accused of posting for more than a year using the pseudonym “Clouseau,” a reference to the bumbling French detective in the “Pink Panther” films.
“Clouseau” used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to multiple Black public figures, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, President Barack Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son. He ridiculed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for having Tourette’s syndrome.
Kobel denied being “Clouseau” when the posts came to light but acknowledged the fiasco would likely end his career.
The firing was first reported by The New York Times.