A white police chief has resigned after he left a piece of paper reading “Ku Klux Klan” on a Black officer’s desk.
While former Sheffield Lake Police Chief Anthony Campo said the situation is overblown and was meant to be funny, Mayor Dennis Bring tells a much different story.
The June 25 incident, which was recorded without audio, shows the chief printing out a piece of paper and then leaving the note on a raincoat laid out to look like a hooded robe at the officer’s desk shortly before he entered the room. After the officer, who was hired nine months ago, comes into the room, he sees the note. Then he and Campo speak to each other before other officers enter the room and speak to the officer.
“I said I didn’t even want to hear about it,” the mayor told WKYC, describing his conversation with Campo. “I said ‘You got 10 minutes to get out of your office. You already have admitted to it. I want your keys and badge. That’s it. Get out.’”
When the two met, the officer told Bring he was stunned by the incident and did not know how to react.
“This is the most egregious and offensive thing you could possibly do,” Bring later told cleveland.com. “And it’s embarrassing and disgusting.”
Bring said the chief also made a cone out of a newspaper, similar to a dunce cap, and gave it to the Black officer to wear, but that incident was not captured on video.
Campo, who had been with the department for 33 years and chief for eight, told WKYC that he was likely reported on by other officers, not the one who received the note, over past disciplinary actions.
The mayor isn’t buying that either.
“He knows what he did,” Bring told WKYC. “He’s playing it off. I don’t think he fathoms how bad this is. Shame on him. I hope he gets what he deserves.”
Campo told the station that he retired and was not fired and respected the Black officer. His last day was June 30. It is unclear if Campo retained any accrued benefits by retiring rather than possibly getting fired while on administrative leave.