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Town plans to fire foul-mouthed Pa. police chief in gun videos

September 20, 2013

GILBERTON, Pa. (AP) — A small-town Pennsylvania police chief’s  profanity-laced Internet tirades about the Second Amendment and liberals have  earned him a measure of notoriety — and now, his bosses intend, a pink slip.

Gilberton Borough Council members said Thursday night they plan to fire Mark  Kessler, nearly two months after voting to suspend the only full-time member of  the town’s police force.

Kessler, who’s active in gun rights circles and started an armed group that  critics call a private militia, posted videos of himself shooting borough-owned  automatic weapons and cursing liberals and others who he said want to erode the  constitutional right to bear arms.

Kessler said the council’s decision was “no surprise” in light of the  incendiary videos. “We knew it was coming,” he said.

A closed-door disciplinary hearing earlier in the day had dwelled on  unrelated allegations, including that Kessler improperly used a  state-administered program to buy discounted tires for his personal vehicle,  failed to submit required crime data and made derogatory comments about borough  officials.

Kessler’s attorney, Joseph Nahas, said the charges were trumped up to conceal  the town’s intent to fire Kessler over the videos. He said after the vote he’ll  request a public hearing at which both sides can call witnesses, as is Kessler’s  right under due process rules. The council would then have to vote a second time  to fire Kessler.

Kessler told reporters that he had been an excellent police chief and had  nothing to apologize for. He said he’d broken no laws: “None. I’d be in  handcuffs.”

“My message was to wake up the people who are independents,” he said, “to  say, ‘We’ve had enough and something needs to change, because we’re in bad shape  all around. Not only here in this little town but across the nation. It’s a  mess.’”

Kessler’s pro-gun videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views online.  He acknowledges they are inflammatory but says they’re designed to draw  attention to the erosion of Second Amendment and other constitutional  rights.

Mayor Mary Lou Hannon had said she found the police chief’s language  offensive.

Council members declined to comment after Thursday night’s vote.

Kessler, a former coal miner, has spoken at gun rights rallies and created a website on which he seeks recruits for the Constitution Security Force, whose stated mission is to defend the constitution and the country from tyranny.

Gun rights activists had traveled to the community of about 800 people, in  Schuylkill County in eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal country, to show  support for Kessler, and most of them displayed weapons.

Constitution Security Force member Bob Gardner traveled from  Philadelphia.

“Mark has gotten railroaded,” said Gardner, who carried a semi-automatic  AK-47. “He was exercising his First Amendment rights by backing it up with his  Second Amendment rights.”

In January, Kessler drafted a resolution the borough adopted that calls for  nullifying any federal, state or local regulations that infringe on the Second  Amendment.

Credit To:  The Daily Caller / Associated Press 



From → Current News

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