Police Chief Mark Kessler Suspended for Gun-Toting Rant (Video)

Friday, 02 Aug 2013 08:29 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Small town Pennsylvania police chief Mark Kessler was suspended for 30 days after a profanity-laced video rant against his opponents posted online caught the attention of town officials.

The Gilberton borough council voted 5-1 to suspend Kessler for using borough weapons and ammunition without prior approval, according to The Associated Press.

Kessler can be seen dropping the F-bomb and using other profanity in a couple of videos while firing fully automatic firearms he donated to the borough police department.

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Kessler is a 14-year veteran of the one-man force in the town with a population of 800 in the heart of central Pennsylvania coal country, according to the AP. Gilberton mayor Mary Lou Hannon told WPMT-TV that Pennsylvania State Patrol will service the county while Kessler is on suspension.

"He has the right to freedom of speech under the Constitution," Hannon told WPMT-TV. "What he did obviously council felt strongly about."

Numerous supporters of Kessler showed up to Wednesday's meeting with their firearms. A group presented a petition calling for the police chief to be fired, said the television station.

Kessler told the AP he believed he did have permission to use the equipment and does not believe he did anything wrong.

"It's a shame that they didn't stand up for the Constitution," said Kessler. "I might use some colorful language, I might have hurt some feelings, but I wasn't out to hurt anybody."

Kessler's attorney Joseph P. Nahas said he has not talked with Kessler about legal action against the borough but said he does have certain protections under state law.

Kessler said he expresses strong support for guns and gun rights and he has received death threats for his stances. He said he was disappointed that council did not support him.

"It's disgusting that people stoop to that level," said Kessler. "I didn't threaten anybody. I made a video."

Calls seeking comment from the borough's elected officials and the borough solicitor went unanswered Thursday.

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