NYPD Official Relieved of Command
(NY) – It’s rather amazing that police officers, who should know the agency’s investigative abilities, continue to do truly stupid things on social media. The latest person to be taken down is Deputy Inspector James Kobel with the New York Police Department. Inspector Kobel, who has been with NYPD for almost 30 years, was the department’s commander over their Equal Employment Opportunity Division. This man’s job was rooting out and stopping workplace harassment.
Like so many others, Inspector Kobel thought he was safe hiding behind a screen name. He chose Clouseau, from the movie, The Pink Panther. Kobel also used a picture of Inspector Clouseau as his avatar online. For those who don’t know, there are a lot of websites where current and ex-police officers go to vent their bigotry and racism. Kobel posted on the site that is commonly used by NYPD officers. But like so many do, he began to get comfortable in his anonymity. He began to feel like he could say anything he wanted and that he was among friends. Being in a comfort zone allowed him to relax and to accidentally start releasing identifying information.
Investigator Discovers “Clouseau”
It’s common for mid to large sized police agencies, particularly those with cyber units, to have their investigators periodically scan social media platforms to catch officers commiting infractions. This is exactly what happened with Kobel. An investigator came across the person calling himself Clouseau and was shocked at how unbelievebly vile that person’s comments were even on a website filed with racism and bigotry. So the investigator did what he was trained to do, he began looking for clues as to who Clouseau was. Once he had enough information to be almost positive he knew, the agency began an investigation.
Inspector Kobel is described by co-workers as a quiet man. However, when writing under his screen name he has shown his core is steeped in racism, bigotry and misogyny. He has “attacked Black people, Puerto Ricans, Hasidic Jews and others with an unbridled sense of animus.” He has called people savages, filthy animals, wildebeests, and brillohead. And he didn’t direct his hate at just civilians, he also directed it at minority police officers, as well. The comments listed are just the ones the New York Times was willing to print in their excellent article.
Needless to say, Inspector Kobel has denied he is the person posting under the name Clouseau. He has said that he has never posted on that website and that someone must have hacked him, but the New York Times article lists the information that was collected that led straight back to Kobel. During the official investigation, investigators found the picture of Inspector Clouseau, that Kobel used as his avatar, on Kobel’s phone. They also found “an email on his personal computer from the Rant message board that acknowledged his screen name was ‘Clouseau.'”
The posts have been taken down and the profile deleted. If someone else put them there to hurt Kobel, why would that person take them down and delete the profile? Investigations begin very quietly. It eventually gets out but it takes a while and usually doesn’t happen until investigators begin speaking to the person they are investigating. I sure wish the article had told us when the comments and profile were deleted and checked to see when Kobel found out he was under investigation.
The Police Union Steps In
The Captains Endowment Association, who is representing Inspector Kobel, is claiming that Kobel was set-up, but Kobel knows the truth. Kobel may still be denying that he is the person writing under the name Clouseau but according to the NYT article, “Nonetheless, despite my denial, it will likely end my career,” he wrote. “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” It can’t end his career if it’s not true. Tarnish it, sure. End it, no. That he knows his career is over tells me he knows he is guilty. As for his reputation, I have no doubt he’s a superstar on that hate-filled platform. He can always go back there.