NYPD Officer Suspended Over Racist, Antisemitic Posts Retires to Avoid Suspension
An NYPD officer whose job was to oversee workplace discrimination complaints filed for retirement on Monday — one day after receiving a 30-day suspension for allegedly posting dozens of racist, antisemitic and bigoted messages to an online chat board.
Deputy Inspector James Kobel was relieved of his command in early November after he was accused of penning attacks on Black and Jewish people, women, members of the LGBTQ community and others for more than a year, using the pseudonym “Clouseau,” a reference to the bumbling French detective in the “Pink Panther” films.
The posts — made on a website where police officers can go to express their frustrations anonymously — routinely traded in toxic stereotypes of minority groups.
In one post, “Clouseau” said of the Orthodox Jewish community: “I think that eventually all of the inbreeding may lead to the demise of these clowns. The severity of birth defects will only increase.”
The rant continued: “Unfortunately, the local taxpayer is going to be on the hook for the bill when the children need special programs in the local school districts and the parents continue to leach [sic] off the system.”
In other messages, “Clouseau” referred to Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark as a “gap-tooth wildebeest,” ridiculed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for having Tourette’s syndrome, and called former President Barack Obama a “Muslim savage” and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son, Dante, a “brillohead.” All of these individuals are Black.
The allegations against Kobel were detailed in a report that a City Council oversight panel will make public. Investigators linked the messages to Kobel by matching information in the “Clouseau” posts to publicly available details about Kobel’s life and career.
Kobel has strenuously denied being the pseudonymous poster. “Nonetheless, despite my denial, it will likely end my career,” Kobel told the New York Times in a recent interview. The head of Kobel’s union said that the decision to retire had been made to avoid a disciplinary hearing.
“Given the current political climate and anti-police sentiment, DI Kobel did not see it as possible to get a fair administrative trial and decided to avail himself of the opportunity to file for retirement,” Captains Endowment Association President Chris Monahan said.