At Tuesday’s Kent City Council meeting (Jan. 4, 2022), Mayor Dana Ralph called for the resignation of assistant police chief Derek Kammerzell, who put a Nazi insignia on his office door and reportedly “made jokes about the Holocaust.”

According to The Seattle Times, Kammerzell was accused of displaying Nazi symbols on his office door, embracing the rank of an official in Adolf Hitler’s Schutzstaffel or ‘SS,’ which was responsible for the murders of millions of Jews — and joking about the Holocaust.

Kammerzell was given a two-week suspension for his actions in July, after an internal investigation concluded that he knew full well the meaning of the insignia he posted in September, 2020.

Below is transcribed text of Ralph’s full statement:

“This is honestly an issue that has rocked our community over the past several days.

“I’m going to start with saying, while we are confident the city followed best practices by promptly investigating the conduct of Derek Kammerzell and imposing discipline, it is clear that the process did not produce the results acceptable to our Community, or quite honestly, me. Earlier this afternoon, in consultation with the Chief, I instructed our city attorney to reach out to the Union’s attorney to ask for Derek Kammerzell’s resignation. While there will be a cost associated with this I believe that this is a necessary step to continue to build trust within our city and across the region.

“I want to say a heartfelt deep ‘thank you’ for all of you that have reached out and taken the time to share your stories with me, your personal stories and the impact that this has had on you and your families. The city and I have worked extremely hard in our anti-racist efforts and I don’t want to undo the great work that has been done. I believe that today’s actions reflect the values that we hold collectively as a city, as a Police Department, and as a community, and they show our commitment to making Kent a place where everyone feels welcome and heard. I guess that ends that statement so very tough decisions, but I believe it’s the right one for our community and us moving forward.”

Council President Boyce echoed Ralph’s concerns:

“Thank you, Madam Mayor. The Kent City Council condemns racism in all forms.

“While the Council is extremist disappointed in assistant chief Kammerzell’s conduct, we don’t believe his conduct reflects the culture of the Kent Police Department, or discounts what has been and continues to be a strong leader on equity issues in the city of Kent and the Kent Police Department.

“Councilmembers have created two equity leader position, are working on ambitious equity strategic plan, and have provided funding for equity training for all city employees, including police employees.

“My colleagues and I will continue to condemn racism in all forms, and continue to insist all city employees, including police employees, abide by the city’s anti-racism value and policies.

“While personnel matters are not with the Council’s purview, I want to thank the mayor for her leadership, and we’re keeping the Council informed throughout this process. Thank you.”

Below is video of Ralph’s statement as posted on Facebook by the city:

Scott Schaefer

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