Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The head of the NYPD’s workplace discrimination office has been accused of being racist, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic.
Hilarious, right? I heard they also put a team of canine cops in charge of safeguarding New York’s Kibbles ‘n Bits supply.
Seriously though, the head of the discrimination office has decided to retire following a 30-day suspension without pay, which came after investigators found that he posted bigoted messages on a website for cops to air their grievances anonymously. (Yeah, the jokes definitely write themselves on this one.)
NBC New York reports that Deputy Inspector James Kobel was suspended in November after he allegedly spent more than a year posting hateful comments about Black people, Jewish people, women, LGBTQ folks and others under the pseudonym “Clouseau”—a reference to the French detective from The Pink Panther movies. Kobel has denied that he’s the bigot behind the posts, but investigators with the City Council oversight panel said that the links are clear and that a detailed report of the allegations against Kobel will be made public. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed Monday that Kobel submitted retirement papers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday that the posts were “absolutely disgusting” and go “against everything we’ve done to build a more inclusive police department.”
The head of Kobel’s union said the 29-year NYPD employee retired to avoid a departmental disciplinary hearing, where de Blasio suggested he “be terminated immediately” if found guilty of violating NYPD rules.
“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,” Captains Endowment Association President Chris Monahan said.
In messages posted on the website, “Clouseau” referred to Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark as a “gap-tooth wildebeest,” ridiculed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for having Tourette’s syndrome, called former President Barack Obama a “Muslim savage” and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son, Dante, a “brillohead.” All of them are Black.
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According to NBC, the words “animals,” “chicken wing eating,” and “inbreeding” were also used in comments attributed to Kobel. Since the comments and posts aren’t available for public viewing, we’ll just have to guess at the context in which they were used. (Damn, I do kind of want some chicken wings now, though.)
Anyway, here’s how investigators linked “Clouseau” to Kobel:
City Council investigators linked the messages to Kobel by matching information in the “Clouseau” messages to publicly available details about Kobel’s life and career, including: that both allegedly joined the NYPD at the same time, held the rank of captain or higher in 2019; both allegedly where on the job in February 2020; both allegedly served in the NYPD Housing Bureau under former Chief Joanne Jaffe; both allegedly had fathers who died in the same year at the same age after serving in the NYPD; both of their mothers allegedly died on the same day; and both are allegedly the youngest of seven children and have at least two brothers who were NYPD officers, among other shared specific personal and family characteristics.
So basically, if you want to create an openly bigoted alter ego through whom you can express your closeted bigot rage, you might want to give your second identity a different backstory.