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Cop Faced With 'Humiliating' KKK Note Files Complaint

Black officer Keith Pool takes action after ex-Ohio police chief's 'offensive' actions in June
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2021 3:15 PM CDT
Updated Nov 12, 2021 7:40 AM CST

(Newser) Update: The first Black cop in a small Ohio town has filed a discrimination complaint against its police force. The charge with the state's Civil Rights Commission was filed by Keith Pool, who says officials in Sheffield Lake did nothing to keep ex-Chief Anthony Campo's racist behavior in check—culminating in June with Campo placing a piece of paper that said "Ku Klux Klan" on Pool's raincoat and crafting a makeshift Klan hat in Pool's presence, reports the New York Times. "It was not a funny joke," Pool said Thursday, speaking publicly for the first time about the incident, per the AP. "It was offensive and humiliating. Even when we watch it now I'm in disbelief that this happened to me." The complaint sets the stage for Pool to file a civil rights lawsuit. Our original story from July follows:

A former police chief in Ohio says a note left on a jacket on a Black officer's desk was just a joke—but nobody else found it funny. Anthony Campo resigned as police chief in Sheffield Lake, a community west of Cleveland, days after he was seen on surveillance footage printing off the "Ku Klux Klan" note and placing it on the jacket, USA Today reports. Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring describes the former chief's behavior as the "most egregious and offensive thing you could possibly do." The mayor said he was notified of the "embarrassing and disgusting" June 25 incident after the police union filed a complaint on behalf of the officer. Bring says Campo offered to submit his retirement papers after he was told he would be placed on administrative leave.

The mayor says that when he went to Campo's office, the chief made a joke about getting fired and was shocked when he was told there would be negative repercussions. "He said, 'After 30 years this is what I get?' And I said, 'You have 10 minutes to get out of your office,'" Bring said, per WKRC. Campo tells the Morning Journal that note was a joke and he isn't a racist. "That’s all it was," Campo says. "I had a joking back and forth banter with that officer, since I hired him." The mayor, however, says he had an emotional conversation with the "very upset" officer. He says the officer expressed a wish to stay with the department and he promised the officer the city would do all it could to support him.

(Read more Ohio stories.)

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