A white Ohio police chief resigned Tuesday over a deeply troubling racial incident where he was caught on surveillance video placing a Ku Klux Klan sign on the desk of a Black officer.
On Friday Anthony Campo, a 33-year veteran of the Sheffield Lake Police Department was captured placing a piece of paper emblazoned with “Ku Klux Klan” on the desk of another officer. The officer, who is Black, had been with the department for less than a year. Campo, who is white, places the paper on a yellow robe, used to look like the robes worn by members of the white supremacist group.
Campo then can be seen returning to his office to sit and wait until the officer returns to make the startling discovery. Once the officer finds the note and robe he begins to talk with Campo as a group of officers approach to join the conversation. No audio of the event exists because the incident was captured on surveillance video.
The local police union asked the Sheffield Lake law director to conference with the mayor after receiving a complaint about the incident. Incredulously Campo attempted to brush off the incident after he was approached by the city’s mayor.
“I came into the chief’s office, and he’s standing there with a smile on his face,” Bring said. “He goes, ‘So, am I fired?'” Sheffield Mayor Dennis Bring told Cleveland.com.
“He thought this was just a joke,” Bring continued. “How can you possibly think that you can put something on somebody’s jacket like that, and especially if they were African American, and think this is a joke? This is the most egregious and offensive thing you could possibly do. And it’s embarrassing and disgusting.”
Bing stated that he ordered Campo to pack up his office and return all of his police belongings within 10 minutes. But Campo attempted to resign instead by typing up a resignation letter prior to abruptly leaving. Campo was placed on administrative leave it’s unclear whether the city will move forward with disciplinary action. If the city forces Campo out he could stand to retain his pension. Cleveland.com reports that Campo’s salary is $86,835.43, a year.
The officer who was targeted has retained a lawyer but it’s unclear as well if he will pursue a suit against Campo or the department.
Bing said that during a face-to-face with the officer they both became extremely emotional over the event.
“It took us 10 minutes to talk to each other because we both sat there crying,” he said.