The NYPD Deputy Inspector found to have made a litany of racist comments online has filed for retirement, days after he was suspended without pay.
This past October, the City Council's Oversight and Investigations Division released a report showing that a series of deeply racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments on an anonymous message board were made by Deputy Inspector James Kobel, the commanding officer of the NYPD's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. Kobel's duties included "promoting a fair and inclusive workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment."
According to the report, Kobel frequented the Law Enforcement Rant, an online forum known for racist postings from current and retired cops, and commented as "Clouseau." Investigators said they were able to determine that Kobel was Clouseau because the avatar described Kobel's work history and life—including his in-law's beach house—in extreme detail.
From the report:
For example, in September 2020, Clouseau described two female NYPD officers of color as “gut-ter sl*ts” and “f**king animals” and wrote that suspending them would “give these two savages plenty of time to” engage in specific, graphically described sexual acts. He also referred to a Palestinian-American Muslim NYPD lieutenant as a “goat-f**king Palestinian scum bag.”
In response to a video showing a Black woman complaining about President Trump, he posted that it was “bad enough that she probably votes,” but worse that “[t]his savage... reproduces little carbon copies of ‘herself/hisself’... someone please throw a gallon of bleach in the human gene pool."
The NYPD received the report in October and placed Kobel on modified duty while they conducted an investigation. The NYPD's subsequent investigation confirmed the City Council's report, according to police sources who spoke to the New York Times. Several posts made as Clouseau were tracked to Kobel's electronic devices, and the sources added that Kobel lied during an interview with investigators last week. “He’s claiming he didn’t do it in the face of overwhelming evidence,” one NYPD official told the Times.
This past weekend, the NYPD suspended him without pay for 30 days pending an internal disciplinary process. Kobel has maintained his innocence. Records show that Kobel earned $188,989 in 2020.
A spokesperson for Kobel's union, the Captains Endowment Association, confirmed that Kobel will retire with a full pension.
“Deputy Inspector Kobel has served the City of New York and the NYPD honorably for nearly 29 years," said Chris Monahan, president of the CEA. “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.”
The NYPD confirmed Kobel's retirement.
"Deputy Inspector Kobel is entitled to due process as is anyone. These allegations will go through the disciplinary process. We will not comment while these proceedings are ongoing," Detective Sophia Mason wrote in an email.
A report by the Brennan Center for Justice released in August noted that law enforcement agencies around the country have largely focused on addressing unconscious bias, as part of police reforms, but that departments left explicit racism unattended.
At a City Council hearing on racism and bias in the NYPD last month, First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker pointed to the implicit bias training that all police officers receive and that is currently being rolled out to civilian employees, and referenced recent employee forums on race and law enforcement that have yielded “critical discussions."
Councilmember Adrienne Adams, who leads the public safety committee, pressed Tucker about what the department was doing to proactively identify officers with explicitly bigoted views.
“Because I frankly believe that there are more out there that you don't see,” Adams said at the hearing, “and they're taking those feelings with them on the job on a daily basis as we speak right now — that are influencing their partners' behavior and influencing what goes on in our communities throughout the City of New York.”
Tucker and the other NYPD officials present could not provide a direct answer.
This post has been updated with a new statement from the NYPD.