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January 5, 2022 3:24 pm
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Seattle Jewish Federation Outraged After ‘Inadequate’ Response to Police Official Who Displayed Nazi Insignia

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Aerial view of Kent, Washington as of 2021. Photo: Imogen Caroline/Wikimedia

A major Seattle Jewish organization criticized city officials in Kent, Washington — part of the Seattle metropolitan area — for their response to an assistant police chief who posted a Nazi military insignia on his office door and allegedly made jokes about the Holocaust.

Assistant Kent Police Chief Derek Kammerzell was suspended for two weeks and ordered to attend cultural sensitivity training last July for violating city policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination and for unbecoming conduct in violation of police policy, according to the Kent Reporter.

Police Chief Rafael Padilla accepted his subordinate’s claim that he did not know the symbol, which indicated a military rank, was of Nazi origin.

A Dec. 28 statement released by Kent’s municipal communications staff said that two independent law firms had reviewed the case and, “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.”

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle objected, saying, “The City of Kent’s response demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the impact of these acts by one of its assistant police chiefs on our local Jewish community.”

“We call on the City of Kent to immediately revisit the situation, publicly recognize the harm and hurt caused to our Jewish community, and treat the offenses with the seriousness and care they deserve,” they said.

“This is an affront to the entire Puget Sound Jewish community and inexcusable,” the Federation added. “Synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish organizations rely on law enforcement to help protect them from violent, antisemitic attacks.”

“The two-week suspension and sensitivity training given in response are completely inadequate, especially at a time when incidents of hate against the Jewish people are higher than they’ve been in almost 45 years,” they asserted. “The absence of true accountability demanded of Kammerzell and the sheer lack of consequences in this situation are shocking.”

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