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NYPD "Anti-Harassment" Executive A Prolific Racist, Council Investigation Finds

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Deputy Inspector James Kobel

Deputy Inspector James Kobel FACEBOOK

A high-ranking NYPD executive responsible for rooting out workplace harassment hid behind a pseudonym while spewing virulent racism on a police message board — describing Black officers as “f-cking animals,” and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams as a “twitching missing link” — according to a new report from the City Council.

The barrage of bigoted comments was posted by the account “Clouseau” to Law Enforcement Rant, an online forum where active and retired police officers frequently engage in racist hate-speech between gripes about the job.

In a 31-page report shared with Gothamist, the Council Oversight and Investigations Division identified “Clouseau” as Deputy Inspector James Kobel, a 28-year veteran of the department. As the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, his duties include “promoting a fair and inclusive workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment.”

The report states that Kobel shared more than 500 posts on the Rant since June of last year, in which he referred to a Middle Eastern NYPD lieutenant as a “goat-f-cking scum bag,” to Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark as a “gap-tooth wildebeest,” to President Obama as a “Muslim savage,” and to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son Dante as “brillohead.”

A post from "Clouseau," an account allegedly used by a high-ranking NYPD officer

A post from “Clouseau,” an account allegedly used by a high-ranking NYPD officer VIA REPORT

The handle took repeated aim at Eric Garner, mocking his family members who have suffered heart attacks, and accusing Garner’s mother of seeking a “ghetto pay day.” Attacks on the Garner family are not out of place on the Rant, whose members reserve their harshest vitriol for victims of police killings.

At another point, “Clouseau” recalled pouring sand and salt into the gas tanks of confiscated motorcycles when he worked in East Harlem to teach the “savages” a lesson. During this summer’s George Floyd protests, the account urged fellow police officers to call out of work as part of a “blue flu” strike.

The council investigation was led by Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is set to become the first member of Congress who is Black and openly gay. Earlier this year, the Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted that Torres was a “first class whore” after he called for an investigation into a possible NYPD work slowdown. (The department opened an investigation into SBA President Ed Mullins for a different online attack in February; they’d declined repeated requests to provide updates on that inquiry.)

A post from "Clouseau," an account allegedly used by a high-ranking NYPD officer

A post from “Clouseau,” an account allegedly used by a high-ranking NYPD officer VIA REPORT

The City Council’s investigation turned up several pieces of evidence connecting Kobel to the account, including highly specific personal information about his work history, family members and the location of his in-laws beach house. In one post, “Clouseau” bragged of taking home a $148,000 annual pension once he retires.

Kobel collected a $158,693 salary, on top of nearly $20,000 in other pay, in 2018, the last year that data is available.

A spokesperson for the NYPD said that Kobel had been placed on modified duty while an internal investigation is underway. The department received a copy of the report on October 14th, according to Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Richard Esposito.

“Deputy Inspector Kobel has cooperated with the investigation, but given the nature of the allegations and the sensitivity of his assignment, the decision has been made to remove him while the investigation proceeds,” Esposito said.

Attempts to reach Kobel were not successful.

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