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Pa. Council Moves to Fire Profane Chief

September 20, 2013  | 

Chief Kessler (left) and his attorney give an interview to CNN in August. Screenshot via YouTube.
Chief Kessler (left) and his attorney give an interview to CNN in August. Screenshot via YouTube.
The Gilberton, Pa., borough council voted Thursday to fire its suspended police chief over the posting of several pro-gun YouTube videos, including one that indirectly attacked a council member.

Chief Mark Kessler was suspended from the Gilberton PD on July 31 for using borough weapons to produce the videos. The council voted 6-1 to fire him and retain a Scranton law firm to handle Kessler's expected challenge to the firing.

Kessler's attorney, Joseph Nahas, promised the challenge the decision. Nahas also called on Councilman Eric Boxer to resign, claiming the councilman had wanted to fire the chief all along, reports The Morning Call.

In July, Kessler began posting videos with profanity-laced tirades where he also fired fully automatic weapons. Kessler received numerous death threats and ignited a debate about his free-speech rights.

In late August with his suspension scheduled to end, Kessler made another video where he shot a target with the name "Eric" and said he was going shooting with "Eric the libtard."

Tags: First Amendment, Police Chiefs, Officer Fired, Social Media, Pennsylvania


Comments (15)

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15

Allen @ 9/20/2013 12:44 PM

It's about time this guy was terminated! What kind of idiot would think that such behaviour was okay. I wonder if they did a real background on this guy, because that kind of stupid just doeswn't surface overnight. It's just a shame he has to make us all look bad.

Captain Bill @ 9/20/2013 12:59 PM

While I do not disagree with Chief Kessler in his beliefs about the 2nd Amendment, he is off base when he makes his statements and videos public and represents himself as a Police Chief. You have to know when to keep your mouth shut and not bring disrespect to the profession and the city you work for.
He is truly the BAD APPLE in the basket. The city took the right stance.

Dave @ 9/20/2013 1:24 PM

Anyone heard of the 1st amendment? Nothing here is serious enough to warrant firing, he was punished for using department weapons which is a BS charge to begin with unless he used department ammo in the video. Can't punish the man twice. I shoot my Department weapon off duty all the time, should I be fired? Heck you have a president who boldly lies to the american people and refuses to enforce the laws of the land and he's not fired. Hypocrisy runs deep in this country.

Brett @ 9/20/2013 1:25 PM

Fire the ignorangus. He is disgracing the police profession. As he has a freedom of speech so to do organizations have freedoms to hire and employ like minded individuals that will represent the best interest of an organization.

John @ 9/20/2013 2:10 PM

I agree with Brett and disagree with Dave. They're not taking away his right to free speech... they're simply wanting to take his job. If the Chief knew that one of the Council members wanted to "...fire the cheif all along...", why give them the reason they needed? Is this really the kind of department head you would want to work for? This is not "rocket surgery". I'm thinking someone needs to spend more time on a background invesitgation next time.

Jason @ 9/20/2013 2:54 PM

I agree he should be fired. He has a 1st and 2nd amendment right. And the right to express himself also brings the consequences of expressing his rights. I belive he did not act professional in expressing his rights. We have a duty to act professional on and off duty.. and if the council belives he is not .. he was already suspended..they have a duty to act on the situation he created..that hey belive is in the best intrest of the town ( I bet they are elected). This might not be someone they want to represent the town. Wonder if the secret service is also watching.....

Captain Steve @ 9/20/2013 4:20 PM

He asked, no begged for this to happen to him. No surprises here. He may get a flash of notoriety for a very brief time, but then he will soon become irrelevant AND unemployed. Way to go, chief.....

S.S. @ 9/21/2013 7:04 AM

He got what he asked for. Complete lack of professionalism. This guy has no business being a chief, and for that matter a police officer. He's got no respect for the badge.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/21/2013 7:40 AM

If someone has no respect for himself how can he expect it from others. In a nationally televised interview Mr. Kessler is dressed wearing a Black T-shirt and Black Ball cap. Mr Kessler has no respect for himself or anyone else for that matter, I can see why the councilman wanted him gone a long time ago. I hope the city got all their guns back from this guy. Whatever medication he is supposed to be taking he is definately not taking it anymore. It is easy to see how this will all end...badly. I hope they pulled his state credentials or he will just move his circus down the street and start over.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/21/2013 7:44 AM

By the way what exactly is "rocket surgery"? (John@) I'm not criticizing, I just never heard of rocket surgery before.

Jim B. @ 9/21/2013 8:37 AM

Dave, the 1st amendment protects him from going to jail for what he said/did. It doesn't say anything about you being able to keep your job. If you think you can go out and do or say whatever you want and still keep your job, try it out and see what happens. There are plenty of examples out there of departments firing officers for their off duty conduct. A lot of them, in my opinion, are BS. This one, in my opinion, is fully justified. This guy was an embarrassment to the town and the the LE profession.

Capt. Crunch @ 9/21/2013 12:55 PM

One council member was in favor of the chief and one council member got fired for his actions against the chief. I think this is a political circus and I feel the chief's attorney has a good chance to get the chief's job back.

yo @ 9/22/2013 12:10 PM

Only in pennslytuckey. Klan land.

Chief P @ 9/23/2013 6:21 AM

This man violated his oath as police officer first and foremost in one of his videos. If I am Alderman Eric Boxer how would I feel? Would I think my police department would answer the 911 at my house while I had an intruder? Would I be worried that some time down the line I would be killed by a mentally unstable police chief who would also be the person to potentially investigate the crime?

At what point does it become "OK" for a police chief to make people fear for their safety or freedom if those people have a different political agenda than the chief? IT NEVER GETS TO THAT POINT. This is ridiculous and the city council took appropriate actions. I am all for the 1st and 2nd amendments of our constitution and will stand by law abiding citizens to protect those amendments. What is going on with this knucklehead is not protecting either, it was a publicity event and he got what he wanted.

Major Bill @ 9/23/2013 11:02 AM

The biggest problem with this whole mess is the fact that the council did not have enough backbone to fire him out right from the beginning. They opened themselves up for this charade when they came up with the lame a$$ excuse that they were suspending him for using the weapons. They should have said ur fired for acting like an idiot and making all police officers look bad. I think everyone should be able to own weapons and protect themselves, but we are held to a higher standard-like it or not. We complain all the time that we are not treated like professionals and when people see videos like this it is easy to see why.

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