I really have to wonder about people sometimes. This recent example, for instance, where the police chief of the Ohio-based Sheffield Lake Police Department, has resigned after placing a Ku Klux Klan sign on a Black police officer’s desk and claiming he did it as a prank.
Someone please tell me how this is even remotely funny?
According to Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring, Police Chief Anthony Campo resigned Tuesday, Cleveland.com  reports.
The incident, which occurred a week ago Friday inside the department’s booking area can be seen on surveillance video. It shows Campo, who has been with the department for 33 years strolling into a room carrying a piece of paper that clearly says “Ku Klux Klan.” He walks to a desk where a yellow jacket is laid out to resemble the infamous hate group’s hood and robe.
The next thing we see is Campos walking out of the room to await the return of the unidentified Black police officer.
The officer, hired by the department nine months ago, walks into the room and sees the offensive message. The video has no audio so it’s not clear what the officer and Campo say to each other. Other people walk into the frame and talk to the officer.
Bring said Campo has told him the offensive note was a prank, but quite obviously this left him stunned.
“He thought this was just a joke,” Bring said. “How can you possibly think that you can put something on somebody’s jacket like that, and especially if they were African-American, and think this is a joke? This is the most egregious and offensive thing you could possibly do. And it’s embarrassing and disgusting.”
I think the mayor stated this quite well.
The incident came to light after Sheffield Lake Law Director David Graves alerted Bring to the situation Tuesday, telling the mayor it was “really serious.”
The union representing the police brought the harassment complaint to Graves’ office and Bring went to Campos’s office as soon as he learned about the incident.
“I came into the chief’s office, and he’s standing there with a smile on his face,” Bring said. “He goes, ‘So, am I fired?”
Graves showed Campo the complaint and Bring told him he had 10 minutes to get out of the office and that he would be on administrative leave until further notice. He told Campos not to touch anything in his office. The mayor also told him to hand over the keys to his cruiser and find a ride home.
Campo announced his resignation and typed out his resignation letter.
While Campos is now gone, the officer targeted by this cruel racism is left to deal with the repercussions. He has retained an attorney but Bring said he’s not certain if the officer plans any litigation. He plans to support the officer if he decides to take further action against Campo, he added.
And it’s been an emotionally painful experience for officer and mayor alike and the two talked things over on Wednesday.
“It took us ten minutes to talk to each other because we both sat there crying,” Bring said. “I apologized to him. I can’t describe it in one word. This is not a mistake. This is something so egregious I can’t describe it.”
The officer told Bring he was so shocked at the situation that all he could do was smile because he really didn’t know what to do. It’s obviously left the mayor taken aback as well.
“This shouldn’t happen anywhere,” he said. “You see this stuff on the news all the time, and you’re thinking ‘How in the hell can somebody be that stupid? It’s out there. It’s done. I don’t even speak of his name right now. I told the officer that we can refer to him as the ‘ex-chief,’ or ‘ex-employee.’ I don’t even want to hear his name spoken in this department anymore.”
It’s not clear at this point if the ex-chief will be able to retain his retirement benefits, but I know what would happen if it were up to me.
Frankly, it would be nice to hear from the officer who was cruelly targeted. He should have every opportunity to voice his feelings over something that has caused him so much pain.