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Assistant police chief disciplined for posting Nazi insignia

January 4, 2022 GMT

KENT, Wash. (AP) — An assistant police chief in Kent, Washington, has been disciplined for posting a Nazi insignia on his office door and joking about the Holocaust.

The Seattle Times reports that Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell was given two weeks off without pay by Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla in July after an internal investigation concluded that Kammerzell knew the meaning of an insignia he posted above the nameplate on his office door in September 2020 — that of an SS “obergruppenfuhrer,” one of the senior-most ranks in the Third Reich.

The insignia was taken down after four days when a detective in the investigations bureau, which Kammerzell commanded, filed a complaint.

Kammerzell currently oversees the department’s patrol division.

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In addition to the two weeks without pay — during which Kammerzell was allowed to take paid vacation to make up his salary — he was ordered to attend “cultural sensitivity training.”

The city of Kent, in a statement, said the investigation showed Kammerzell “exercised poor judgment in this situation despite an otherwise stellar 27-year career with the Police Department” and said he has apologized for his conduct.

A telephone message seeking comment left on Kammerzell’s line at the Kent Police Department was not returned. Kammerzell told The Kent Reporter in an email last week that he is “deeply embarrassed by this incident.”

“I wish I could take it back. I know now what that rank represents, and that is not what I value or who I am,” he said.

Kammerzell said years ago someone in the department began to refer to him as the “German general” due to his Germanic heritage and he embraced the nickname.