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NYPD's head of workplace discrimination retires on full pension despite writing racist and anti-Semitic comments on cop message board

 A high-ranking New York Police Department official accused of posting hateful messages online has opted to retire days after the department said it was suspending him without pay.

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed Monday that Deputy Inspector James Kobel, the former head of the department's workplace discrimination office, had submitted retirement papers.

The NYPD opened an internal affairs investigation into Kobel in November after he was accused of posting attacks on Black and Jewish people, women, and members of the LGBTQ community on a message board where officers would air grievances anonymously.

Kobel was removed as commanding officer of the Equal Employment Opportunity Division and reassigned to the transit unit. Last week, the department placed him on unpaid administrative leave.

According to the New York Times, officials are still planning to bring administrative charges against him as soon as this month for falsely denying that he had written the offensive messages.


'The evidence is strong,' one senior police official told the newspaper. 'We have no doubt that it’s him.' 

Kobel will keep his pension unless he is convicted of a felony. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday that the posts were 'absolutely disgusting' and go 'against everything we've done to build a more inclusive police department'.

Commissioner Dermot Shea called the postings 'abhorrent' and 'utterly disgusting'. 

The head of Kobel's union said the 29-year NYPD employee retired to avoid a departmental disciplinary hearing, where de Blasio suggested he 'be terminated immediately' if found guilty of violating NYPD rules. 

Kobel was accused of posting for more than a year using the pseudonym 'Clouseau,' a reference to the bumbling French detective in the 'Pink Panther' films

Kobel was accused of posting for more than a year using the pseudonym 'Clouseau,' a reference to the bumbling French detective in the 'Pink Panther' films

'Clouseau' used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to multiple black public figures, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, President Barack Obama and de Blasio's son, Dante, who was labeled as a 'brillohead'

'Clouseau' used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to multiple black public figures, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, President Barack Obama and de Blasio's son, Dante, who was labeled as a 'brillohead'

'Given the current political climate and anti-police sentiment, DI Kobel did not see it as possible to get a fair administrative trial and decided to avail himself of the opportunity to file for retirement,' Captains Endowment Association President Chris Monahan said.

Kobel was accused of posting for more than a year using the pseudonym 'Clouseau,' a reference to the bumbling French detective in the 'Pink Panther' films.

'Clouseau' used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to multiple black public figures, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, President Barack Obama and  de Blasio's son, Dante, who was labeled as a 'brillohead'.

Another post referred to Obama as a 'Muslim savage'.

'Clouseau' referred to Clark as a 'gap-tooth wildebeest' and ridiculed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for having Tourette's syndrome.

He also described Eric Garner, the black man whose 2014 chokehold death in police custody helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement, as 'a morbidly obese, diabetes havin', high blood pressure ignorin', asthma havin', chicken wing eatin', grape soda drinkin', loosie sellin' fat bastard' who died of his 'poor dietary choices'. 

According to the report, the posts encouraged NYPD officers to call out sick this June as large demonstrations hit NYC following to death of George Floyd.  


'Sadly the blue flu needs to be spread nationwide and more furious than the Wuhan Flu,' the post read. 

Black men were not his only target. The writer also called Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somali-American Democrat, a 'filthy animal'. 

And he launched on an attack on NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is white and gay, when he asked for an investigation into the department’s use of pedestrian stops. 

'Perhaps we should all take a step back from Stop, Question, and Maybe Frisk, until dear old Corey ends up the victim of a crime in one of the local bathhouses,' Clouseau wrote.  

Kobel denied being 'Clouseau' when the posts came to light but acknowledged the fiasco would likely end his career. 

'I am unfamiliar with any of these posts,' Kobel told the New York Times, who first reported the allegations. 'I'm unfamiliar with "Clouseau". I don't post on the Rant.'

'Nonetheless, despite my denial, it will likely end my career,' he added. 'Where do I go to get my reputation back?'

The allegations against Kobel were detailed in a report by a City Council oversight panel. 

City Council investigators linked the 'Clouseau' messages to Kobel by matching information in them to publicly available details about Kobel's life and career.

The panel discovered that more than 500 posts under the 'Clouseau' handle were made on 'Rant' between June 2019 and September 2020. 

Investigators matched a few hints that 'Clouseau' left online with his career in the NYPD. 

For example, on July 1, 2019, 'Clouseau' described how he joined the department on  June 30, 1992. Investigators were able to use payroll records to determine that Kobel had joined the force on that same date, according to the Times. 

In another example,  'Clouseau' wrote that he had once worked 'in Housing' under 'JJ,' whom he referred to with an obscene slur for women. 

Kobel also served in the department’s Housing Bureau when it was run by chief, Joanne Jaffe. 

Investigators had also considered the possibility that Kobel had been framed by someone else.  

But they eventually found that Kobel lied during an interview last week in which he denied again that he was 'Clouseau'.

Kobel was the second-in-command in the Equal Employment Opportunity office for four years before being elevated to commanding officer in May. 

The NYPD's Equal Employment Opportunity office is responsible for preventing and investigating employment and harassment claims and has implemented policy changes in recent years providing for lactation rooms, enabling officers to wear religious head coverings and making accommodations for transgender officers.

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