Black Ohio police officer breaks silence after white chief placed Ku Klux Klan note on his coat
Officer Keith Pool said he felt like he’d been “hit with a sledgehammer” following the racist encounter with his former boss, Anthony Campo
A Black Ohio police officer opened up after his former chief, who is white, was caught placing a note reading “Ku Klux Klan” on the officer’s raincoat.
As reported by NBC News, Sheffield Lake Police Officer Keith Pool on Thursday addressed the June incident publicly for the first time, additionally detailing a history of discriminatory behavior from Anthony Campo, the since-terminated chief.
Surveillance footage obtained and reviewed by WKYC in Cleveland shows Campo placing the printout on a coat laid on Pool’s desk while he was gone.
“Even when we watch it now I am in disbelief that this happened,” Pool said during a press conference Thursday. “It was so demeaning that in the moment I just didn’t know how to react to it. I felt like I’d been hit with a sledgehammer.”
The 57-year-old continued to allege further racial harassment he experienced from his former boss, claiming Campo once made a “KKK-style” hat out of paper and told Pool he would have to wear it on an upcoming call.
“Chief Campo thought that putting the words Ku Klux Klan — a sign — on my rain jacket, and then wearing the Ku Klux Klan hat, was something of a joke,” Pool said.
Pool, who is the first and only Black officer in the department, added that Campo later waved multiple white officers over to see the message when Pool returned and saw the note.
“Even worse he told other officers to go look at what he did. I would have rather at that point for him to have hit me in my face,” Pool said. “It was offensive and humiliating, and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire career.”
Pool said he and his legal team have filed an employment discrimination charge against Campo with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, also filing a petition with the Ohio Supreme Court hoping to expose police records revealing Campo’s history of bigotry.
Pool alleged his first incident with Campo happened before his first day on the job, when the former chief sent him a picture of a vehicle with 20-inch rims and tinted windows instead of sending him what was supposed to be a photo of his new patrol car.
Another incident took place around Halloween, Pool claimed, during which an image of his face on the Grim Reaper’s body was attached to the bulletin board with the caption: “The raccoon reaper.”
Pool said “nothing was done” to discipline Campo for his actions and he believes the city may be trying to protect him further by not releasing official records.
“It’s clear that Campo doesn’t think he did anything wrong,” he said, “and despite what they said, the City of Sheffield’s actions make me wonder whether they take this seriously.”
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