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Valley Public Radio Staff
Fri September 20, 2013
Pennsylvania Police Chief Fired Months After Video Rants
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 12:57 pm
A Pennsylvania police chief who gained national attention for Internet videos in which he fired high-powered rifles while shouting obscenities against liberals, Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations has been fired.
The Gilberton, Pa., borough council voted to suspend Mark Kessler in July. On Thursday, lawmakers handed Kessler his pink slip.
In the profanity-laced YouTube videos, Kessler calls Kerry a "traitor" and challenges the United Nations to "come and take" his weapons. In another video, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are the targets of his ire.
The Associated Press describes Kessler as someone "active in gun circles" who "started an armed group that critics call a private militia."
Speaking after the vote Thursday, Kessler said he wasn't surprised by the action.
"They already made their decision in July," he said. "They are just going through the steps."
He had argued that the videos posted online are protected free speech.
"The Council said it disciplined Kessler because the guns in the videos were owned by the borough and they were used without prior authorization. Kessler donated the weapons and the ammunition to the borough in January."
The AP says:
"Kessler told reporters that he had been an excellent police chief and had nothing to apologize for. He said he'd broken no laws: 'None. I'd be in handcuffs.'
"'My message was to wake up the people who are independents,' he said, to say, 'We've had enough and something needs to change, because we're in bad shape all around. Not only here in this little town but across the nation. It's a mess.' "