Lieutenant William Kelly was initially placed on administrative duty by the Norfolk Police Department on April 16, according to a press release. City Manager Chip Filer said reports were made that Kelly donated to Rittenhouse and expressed support for his actions.
A legal defense fund for Rittenhouse attracted millions of dollars in donations last year. Rittenhouse was 17 years old at the time of the shooting, which happened during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse was charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide. He also faces charges of recklessly endangering the safety of two other victims and possessing a weapon while under the age of 18.
After conservative-fueled fundraising efforts raised $2 million to cover his bail, he was released from jail in November. However, in February, prosecutors asked a judge for a new arrest warrant after he apparently violated his bail conditions. The request was denied.
A recent data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website revealed that several police officers and public officials donated money to fundraisers like the one for Rittenhouse.
Transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, which shared the information from the data breach with journalists, also released the names of several donors, some of whom used their official email addresses to make the payments.
Kelly’s official Norfolk Police email address was associated with one $25 donation to Rittenhouse’s fund, made anonymously last September, according to The Guardian, which had access to the Distributed Denial of Secrets data. CBS News has reached out to the group for more information and is awaiting response.
On Tuesday, the city manager accepted the recommendation by Chief Larry D. Boone that Kelly be relieved of duty.
“I want the residents of Norfolk to know that their police department will represent and uphold our organizational values of Service, Honor, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Diversity,” Boone said in a statement. “A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them.”
Boone said he does not want “perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”