The crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has set up a fundraiser for a Virginia officer after he was fired for donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense fund.
Lieutenant William Kelly was fired from the Norfolk, Va., Police Department after it was revealed that he used GiveSendGo to donate $25 to Rittenhouse, who was charged with homicide after shooting two people during riots in Kenosha, Wisc., last summer. While Kelly’s donation was anonymous, he used an email address linked to himself that was revealed in a hack of GiveSendGo, which the group Distributed Denial of Secrets shared with The Guardian last week.
“Regardless of how you feel regarding Kyle Rittenhouse, the fact is that Mr. Kelly’s individual rights have been grossly violated,” Heather Wilson, a co-founder of GiveSendGo, said in a statement. Kelly’s donation “wasn’t against the law, but a criminal hacker group and a biased media outlet decided that was enough to make an example of him.”
GiveSendGo, which bills itself as the “#1 free Christian crowdfunding site,” has begun a fundraising campaign for Kelly in the wake of his firing.
Norfolk police chief Larry Boone said in a statement after the firing that “a police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them.” Attempts by National Review to reach Boone for additional comment were unsuccessful.
However, Ray Hogge, a Norfolk-based labor lawyer, told National Review that Kelly’s firing was illegal.
“I don’t have any doubt that what the city did was . . . inappropriate and illegal and violated the man’s First Amendment rights,” Hogge said.
Kelly will be able to appeal the decision if he so chooses.