GILBERTON, Pa. – Town officials said Thursday they intend to fire a police chief suspended after he posted online videos of himself shooting automatic weapons and going on profanity-laced tirades about liberals and the Second Amendment.
Gilberton council members made the decision Thursday concerning Chief Mark Kessler, the only full-time member of the towns police force, whos active in gun rights circles and is organizing an armed, non-government group that critics call a private militia.
Kessler, despite insisting he was simply exercising his constitutional rights in the videos, said the town councils decision was no surprise.
We knew it was coming, he said.
A closed-door hearing earlier in the day had dwelled on allegations that Kessler improperly used a state-administered program to buy discounted tires for his personal vehicle, failed to submit required crime data and made derogatory comments about town officials, said his attorney, Joseph Nahas – all trumped-up charges to conceal the towns intent to fire Kessler over the videos.
Kessler told reporters outside his disciplinary hearing that he had been an excellent police chief and had nothing to apologize for.
My message was to wake up the people who are independents, he said, to say, Weve had enough and something needs to change, because were in bad shape all around. Not only here in this little town but across the nation.
Kessler, a former coal miner, often posts online radio shows about gun rights, has spoken at gun rights rallies and created a website on which he seeks recruits for the Constitution Security Force, whose stated mission is to defend the constitution and the country from tyranny.