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NYPD Anti-Discrimination Chief Retires Before Disciplinary Hearing

Last summer, a New York City Council investigator noticed some deeply offensive posts on a chat board called “Rant.” In these posts, a person called “Clouseau” referred to former President Barack Obama as a “Muslim savage,” called the Black son of Mayor Bill De Blasio “brillohead,” made fun of a Public Advocate for Tourette’s syndrome, and referred to a Black District Attorney as a “gap-tooth wildebeest.” Additional posts from Clouseau contained attacks on Jewish people, women, and the LBGTQ community. Taking bits of information left online, investigators concluded that Clouseau was actually New York Police Department Deputy Inspector James Kobel. The investigators pieced together his identity from clues in the postings. For example, the postings indicated Kobel and Clouseau joined the force at the same time, reached the same rank at the same time, were on duty the same day, served under the same commanding officer, had fathers who died at the same age while in the NYPD, had mothers who died on the same day, were the youngest of seven children, and had two brothers working as NYPD officers. When presented with a draft report with this information, Kobel denied the allegations. The department placed him on a modified assignment.

Just as the department planned to begin the internal disciplinary process, Kobel submitted retirement papers. Before his retirement, Kobel was the commanding officer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Division. In that position, he oversaw investigations of employment and harassment claims. Responding to Kobel’s decision to retire, union representatives asserted he could not get a fair administrative trial since the department already concluded it was him.