SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio — Sheffield Lake's police chief, Anthony Campo, has retired from the department following a racial incident that was captured on camera inside the precinct's booking room, according to the city.
The incident happened on June 25, according to a time stamp on the video.
Footage of the incident shows Campo place a yellow police rain coat face down on a desk with the hood prominently visible. The word "POLICE" is emblazoned on the rain coat. Campo then places a white folded piece of paper on the jacket with what appears to be three words printed on it, and then places it over the top of the word police.
The Sheffield Lake law director told News 5 that "from my understanding it was related to the KKK."
The video then shows Campo walk out of the room and a Black officer comes in and Campo points out the coat and paper to him. After Campo walks out of the room, the officer picks up the paper and the rain coat. Other officers come into the room and have a discussion.
The video has no sound so its unclear what was said. You can watch the video in the player below:
Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring told News 5 he takes the incident very seriously, that at first he threatened to fire Campo but then later allowed him to hand in his resignation and retire from the police force.
“The chief, he made a comment like 'What, am I going to get fired over this?" Bring said. “And I said, "You have 10 minutes to get out of the building, I want your badge, I want your car keys, I want the keys to your office. And he said, 'May I please type up a letter of my resignation, and I want to retire.'"
“We are all better than this. This is very, very bad. I can’t even tell you; I don’t have one word to describe how bad this is,” Bring said.
Bring said he sat down with the Black officer involved and apologized on behalf of the village.
“I said 'I need to apologize to you,' I said 'You never should have had to see this,'" Bring said. “We had a very emotional talk, and that was very difficult, we couldn’t talk to each other for 10 minutes because we cried.”
Bring continued, “I'm disappointed and shocked, It’s like I’ve told everybody, you see this stuff on the news and you never expect to see it, and I’m just floored.”
News 5 reached Campo by telephone, and he quickly responded to the incident.
"It was just a joke that got out of hand," Campo said. "I hired that officer on the force, he's excellent with children, and I helped to save his job after he was in danger of being let go by another department due to age restrictions."
Department records show that the chief was placed on administrative leave on June 29 pending an investigation into the matter. Campo submitted his retirement notice the the same day he was placed on leave.
Records show Campo was with the department for 33 years.
Sgt. Shawn Corr has been named as acting chief.
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