An Ohio police chief resigned this week following an incident in which he left a Ku Klux Klan sign on a Black officer’s desk.
The Associated Press reports Anthony Campo, a 33-year veteran of the Sheffield Lake Police Department, retired Tuesday after Mayor Dennis Bring put him on administrative leave upon learning about the incident.
The incident in question, which happened Friday, was captured on surveillance video inside the department’s booking area. The footage shows Campo printing out the words “Ku Klux Klan” on the department’s copier and placing it on a yellow raincoat folded to look like one of the racist group’s trademark hoods. Roughly 30 seconds later, the officer, who is Black, walks in to see the jacket and sign on the desk.
According to Mayor Bring, Campo told him the offensive note was a prank.
“He thought this was just a joke,” Bring told Cleveland.com. “How can you possibly think that you can put something on somebody’s jacket like that, and especially if they were African American, and think this is a joke? This is the most egregious and offensive thing you could possibly do. And it’s embarrassing and disgusting.”
Bring was notified of the incident Tuesday by the union representing police officers. He said after learning of the incident, he told Campo he had “10 minutes” to get out of his office.
“I said ‘I don’t want to even hear about it.’ I said, you’ve already admitted to it and you’ve got 10 minutes to get out of this office. I said, I want your keys, your badge and that’s it. Get out,” Bring explained.
The officer who received the inappropriate message retained an attorney since the incident. Bring is unsure whether the officer plans to file suit but noted he would back the officer if he were to seek further action against Campo.
“This shouldn’t happen anywhere,” Bring told the news outlet. “You see this stuff on the news all the time, and you’re thinking, ‘How in the hell can somebody be that stupid?’ It’s out there. It’s done. I don’t even speak of his name right now. I told the officer that we can refer to him as ‘ex-chief,’ or ‘ex-employee.’ I don’t even want to hear his name spoken in this department anymore.”