A black Ohio police officer whose leader left a sheet of paper with the words “Ku Klux Klan” on his raincoat this summer, a shocking discovery captured in surveillance video obtained by the officer’s attorneys, filed Thursday a complaint of discrimination to the state. Civil Rights Commission.
The officer, Keith Pool, said during a video press conference Thursday by announcing the complaint against the city police force that officials in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, a small town about 25 miles west of Cleveland, failed to stem a wave of racist misconduct by Anthony Campo, the police chief at the time.
Mr. Campo, who acknowledged his actions in interviews with local media, claiming they were meant to be a joke, resigned shortly after the episode.
Officer Pool, 57, who became Sheffield Lake’s first black police officer last year and remains employed by the city, told the press conference that Mr Campo had previously called him racially insulted and regularly posted racist flyers on a bulletin board targeting him and another officer who is Hispanic.
Upon his return to his office on June 25, Agent Pool recalls, he was stunned by what he found: Mr. Campo’s note was placed on his raincoat, which had been spread out on a desk.
About six minutes later, after Agent Pool confronted Mr. Campo about the sign, the leader rolled up papers in a cone-shaped hat resembling the balaclavas worn by the Klan men and put it on. his head, showed the surveillance video. Lawyers for Agent Pool obtained the footage through a public registration request.
âMy exact words were, ‘Are you serious? “” Officer Pool said Thursday. âAnd I just watched it. What else can you say to the chief of police, who had done something so heinous and so horrible to the first black officer in history? It is not understandable.
In addition to the civil rights complaint, Agent Pool’s attorneys filed a complaint request for writ of mandamus with the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday, requesting full disclosure of Mr. Campo’s personal records. So far, the officer’s lawyers said Thursday, city officials have balked at the demands.
Mr Campo did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Thursday. A man who answered the phone at his home, who introduced himself as Mr Campo’s son, said he was not available.
Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday, but he told the WKYC television station shortly after the episode he apologized to the police officer and rejected Mr. Campo’s explanation.
âI said, ‘I don’t even want to hear about it,’â Mr. Bring said of his conversation with Mr. Campo. âI said, ‘You already admitted that.’ And I said, ‘You have 10 minutes to get out of this office.’ I said, ‘I want your keys, badge and that’s it. Go out.'”
Police officials and the chairman of Sheffield Lake City Council also did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Agent Pool, who has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, said Mr Campo’s actions struck a chord. He had previously learned from his great-grandmother that his great-uncle had been killed by the KKK, he said.
âNot only did he hurt me, he hurt my family,â said Constable Pool, who is one of 14 officers at Sheffield Lake. âHe hurt my children. They had to see this.
Ashlie Case Sletvold, attorney for Officer Pool, said at the press conference on Thursday that the civil rights complaint would allow Officer Pool to take legal action for discrimination.
“This disgusting display of fanaticism cannot be tolerated in a civilized society, especially in law enforcement,” she said.