In the aftermath of Kyle Rittenhouse’s not guilty on all counts verdict, Jonathan Turley says it is time to make it right with Norfolk Police Officer William Kelly. Kelly was fired for anonymously donating to Kyle’s defense fund.
Turley points out that Kamala Harris donated to a fund to pay the bail of the Minnesota protesters so it is a farce that Kelly has not been reinstated. Turley wrote:
“The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse produced a number of immediate changes beyond the custodial status of the 18-year-old himself. GoFundMe lifted its ban on people contributing to his defense—after his defense was over and the verdict was in.
“Some media outlets finally reported on evidence that supported his self-defense claims and one critic called for “revisiting” the clearly biased reporting in the case.
“However, there is one person whose status has not changed: Norfolk Police Officer William Kelly who was fired for simply donating to the Rittenhouse defense fund and writing a supportive note as a private citizen.
“He made the comment and donation anonymously. The only thing more shocking than Kelly’s loss of his job is that Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer and Police Chief Larry Boone have retained theirs.
“Various public officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have contributed to the The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which “pays criminal bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot otherwise afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.”
“The vice president and others have the right to support such legal defense funds, which aim to ensure litigants have the means to defend themselves. So does Kelly.
“When Kelly was fired, many on the left celebrated despite the fact that he was being denied his right to free speech and free association.
“It is a pattern I have written about in the past as public employees are fired for statements on social media or associations in their private lives.
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“This includes a New Jersey police officer fired for calling BLM protesters “terrorists” on her personal Facebook account. Most recently, a court reinstated Loudon teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross, who was fired for speaking publicly against gender identification policies.
“As it stands, Kelly was fired for supporting (again, anonymously) a teenager who was ultimately acquitted of all charges by a jury. He was fired for contributing to a legal fund that would help the accused put on a full defense. That is in the interest of justice.
“Yet, Filer and Boone remain employed despite using their official positions to retaliate against a public employee using his constitutional right to free speech. Kelly and his family continue to appeal his firing as they struggle to survive on the teacher’s salary of his wife.
“The dictator Idi Amin once proclaimed “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.” That seems the standard applied in Norfolk where even anonymous support for a legal defense is grounds for termination,” he wrote.