Photo Courtesy of Jeff Reed/NY City Council
“The shocking nature of the misconduct in this report would call for nothing less than termination,” Councilman Torres said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Oversight and Investigations Committee Chairman Ritchie Torres on Friday released a Council Oversight and Investigations report containing substantial evidence pointing to the identity of an anonymous online persona responsible for “numerous and repeated unacceptable and disgusting online posts.”
The evidence reveals that the anonymous poster, who went by the name “Clouseau” on the vitriolic public online message board known as “Law Enforcement Rant,” appears to be Deputy Inspector James Francis Kobel.
Deputy Inspector Kobel was the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), which is a sub-unit of the NYPD’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI). This division of the NYPD is responsible for promoting “a fair, safe, inclusive and accommodating work environment for all members of the [NYPD]” and “for ensuring [the NYPD’s] employees are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace…and promoting a fair and inclusive workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment,” according to the office’s website. He has held this position since May of this year. His previous role was to serve as the executive officer (second in command) of the EEO for at least four years.
Johnson and Torres also announced that the council will hold a public hearing on the matter in the coming weeks.
The 31-page report is littered with examples of Kobel’s alleged posts, including several focused on Eric Garner and the Garner family:
“Clouseau wrote that Eric Garner was ‘a morbidly obese, diabetes havin’, high blood pressure ignorin’, asthma havin’, chicken wing eatin’, grape soda drinkin’, loosie sellin’ fat bastard,” who died because of his “poor dietary choices.’ In another post, he wrote that Garner ‘should have made an effort to make himself a productive member of society… [instead of] planting his seed everywhere, and having everyone of his spawn living off of the Federal Government Teet [sic].”
Johnson said, “The abhorrent racist, misogynist, and homophobic messages, which our evidence reveals was posted by NYPD Deputy Inspector James Francis Kobel, are deplorable and intolerable. It is outrageous that any public servant—let alone the person in charge of handling harassment and equal opportunity at the department—would behave in this reprehensible and unprofessional manner. This council will take immediate action to find out how this could have happened, what steps are needed to make sure someone like this is never empowered again in the NYPD, and to investigate the work this officer and his office has done in the past, all of which has been called into question by this investigation.”
Kobel has been relieved of his command and placed on modified assignment after the council’s findings were shared with the NYPD.
“The virulent bigotry of Deputy Inspector James Francis Kobel has no place in the NYPD, much less in the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity,” Torres added. “The shocking nature of the misconduct in this report would call for nothing less than termination.”