NORFOLK, Va. - A Republican Virginia state senator is calling on the Norfolk Police Department to reinstate an officer who they fired for donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense fund.
Former Norfolk Police officer William Kelly challenged his dismissal after his firing in April.
He’s now told The Daily Mail he wants his position restored after Rittenhouse was acquitted last week.
On Tuesday, State Senator Bryce Reeves – a former Prince William County police officer - announced he’d sent a letter to the Norfolk Police Department requesting his restoration.
Reeves echoed one of Kelly’s own claims when he pointed out that he’d made the donation anonymously, and not as a representative of the department.
"On November 20th, Lt. Kelly was featured in a Daily Mail article indicating he wanted his job back. I encourage you to give serious consideration to his request," Reeves wrote.
He went on to say, "I write this letter not only in my capacity as a State Senator, but also as a former PWCPD police officer and current auxiliary sheriff’s deputy. Firing Lt. Kelly set a bad precedent for all law enforcement in Virginia. The actions you take do nothing to improve public faith and trust in our law enforcement. Please do the right thing and restore his employment in your department."
The Norfolk, Va. branch of the NAACP is asking the department to refrain from "succumbing to public pressure" to restore Kelly.
"The actions taken by Chief Boone and City Manager Filer to fire William Kelly were done to improve public faith and trust in our law enforcement," said Stacie Armstead, President of Norfolk Branch NAACP.
The Virginian-Pilot initially reported on Kelly’s firing. They had obtained data from a Christian crowdfunding website that was hacked, apparently showing an anonymous $25 donation to Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund was linked to Kelly’s work email address.
According to the newspaper, the donation carried the comment: "God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong."
It went on to say, "’Every rank and file police officer supports you."
GoFundMe initially shut down campaigns contributing to Rittenhouse’s defense. They were restored after the verdict.