A high-ranking official with the New York Police Department has been temporarily relieved of his command and placed on modified duty after a City Council investigation found evidence suggesting he was behind a collection of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments on a public law enforcement message board.
According to CNN, from July 2019 and September 2020, a user identified as “Clouseau” routinely posted offensive messages onboard called “Law Enforcement Rant” attacking Black people, Muslims, Hasidic Jewish community, and others with extremely derogatory language, according to a draft report from the New York City Council Oversight and Investigations Division.
The “Rant” is a public message board that cops and others within the law enforcement community use to vent about their jobs’ grievances.
City Council investigators assert that “Clouseau” appears to be NYPD Deputy Inspector James Francis Kobel. Kobel is a 30 year veteran of the force and the commanding officer of the police department’s Office of Equal Employment and Opportunity, which is responsible for investigating all employment and harassment claims.
The report claimed that under the name “Clouseau,” Kobel used disparaging language to refer to elected officials, including former President Barack Obama and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, who is a Black woman, NFL players who kneeled in protest and Hasidic Jews- who he blamed for increasing COVID-19 cases in the city in March.
He also allegedly used racist slurs to describe two female NYPD officers of color and insulted Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after an NYPD officer put him in a chokehold. In a post last August, Kobel alleged wrote Eric Garner was “a morbidly obese, diabetes havin’, high blood pressure ignorin’, asthma havin’, chicken wing eatin’, grape soda drinkin’, loosie sellin’ fat bastard.” He also insulted Garner’s mother, the report said.
Kobel denied posting on The Rant and told The New York Times that he was unfamiliar with “Clouseau,” but investigators said they were able to identify “Clouseau” by matching the information provided in some of the posts with publicly available personal information about the 50-year-old.