An assistant police chief with the Kent Police Department in suburban Seattle received a two week suspension earlier in the year for displaying a Nazi insignia above his nameplate on his office door, Seattle Weekly reported.
Derek Kammerzell, who has been with the Kent Police Department for 27 years, was suspended by Police Chief Rafael Padilla for contravening a city ordinance against harassment and discrimination and also for unbecoming conduct that violated police policy.
The insignia placed by the assistant police chief on his door appeared to be that of the Nazi rank of SS-Obergruppenfuhrer.
“I am deeply embarrassed by this incident,” Kammerzell told the Kent Reporter. “I wish I could take it back. I know now what that rank represents, and that is not what I value or who I am. The expectations for an assistant chief are, rightfully, incredibly high. I do my best every day to meet and exceed those expectations.”
The officer’s notice of discipline was issued on July 14 but the incident only came to light in late December after the city of Kent responded to a request for public records made by the group “No Secret Police.” Kammerzell had been on paid leave while the investigation was being conducted.
“The city of Kent hired an independent law firm that has extensive experience in employee investigations to investigate thoroughly the alleged conduct of Assistant Police Chief Derek Kammerzell,” the city of Ken said in a statement. “The city then hired a second employment law firm to review the investigation and recommend appropriate discipline. Based on labor law and the advice of the employment law firm, the city believes a two-week suspension was an appropriate and defensible response to the conduct identified in the investigation.”
The city added: “The city of Kent and Kent Police Department condemn racism in all its forms and are committed to investigate and, when necessary, impose appropriate discipline for every violation of our values and policies. The city took the allegations against Assistant Chief Kammerzell very seriously and stands by its independent investigation and discipline.”
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