Having very little in his defense for posting hateful antisemitic, racist, and homophobic messages on an anonymous police portal, Deputy Inspector James Kobel, who was suspended from duty without pay in a confirmation on Sunday, has now opted to retire for good.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed Monday that Deputy Inspector James Kobel, the former head of the department’s workplace discrimination office, had submitted retirement papers following the recent controversy that surrounded him.
In November, the NYPD opened an internal affairs investigation into Kobel 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 air grievances anonymously. 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. Under the garb of this username, Kobel used vulgar, racist nicknames when referring to multiple Black public figures, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, President Barack Obama, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son. He ridiculed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for having Tourette’s syndrome.
Following the investigation, 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.
The head of Kobel’s union said the 29-year-old NYPD employee retired in order to avoid a departmental disciplinary hearing, in which Mayor Bill de Blasio had clearly suggested Kobel would “be terminated immediately” if found guilty of violating NYPD rules. “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.
Initially, whilst speaking to the media, Kobel had denied being “Clouseau” when the posts came to light but acknowledged the allegation would likely end his career, saying “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” Although there have been no reports of him accepting his violation of rules, the fact that he has tendered his resignation may mean that he was, in fact, behind the despicable messages posted online.