With 23,000 signatures garnered on a petition calling for his dismissal, Gilberton, Pa. Police Chief Mark Kessler may find out this evening whether he will remain in the employ of the borough.
Today is the last day of his 30-day suspension for what the Gilberton Borough Council called an unauthorized use of weapons. Kessler came to fame a month ago when videos of him firing machine guns while going on a foul-mouthed diatribe about “libtards” and an erosion of 2nd amendment rights went viral online.
Kessler says he was attempting, in a shock and awe kind of fashion, to bring attention to what he sees as an attrition of constitutional rights and some residents find it hard to reconcile such actions with the chief who was always available to lend a helping hand.
Others are out right afraid and have been for a long time. The advocacy group Keystone Progress, which organized the online petition, says they won’t be attending the meeting Friday night because of the “threatening atmosphere created by Kessler and his supporters.” Michael Morrill, executive director of Keystone Progress, a liberal advocacy group, says that he won’t be attending the council meeting out of safety concerns stating, “My board has told me not to go.”
And they may have good reason to be afraid. In previous rants, Kessler has vowed to give his life to protect his rights. In the last 24 hours there have been violent posts left on his Facebook page and he’s organized a Constitutional Security Force for like-minded individuals to “respond to a call’ and “resist tyranny that seeks to destroy the republic.”
He insists that he’s not fostering revolution but in the same breath warns that, “God help them if something should happen to me. I believe that could spark the next American Revolution.” This week, Kessler posted another video depicting him shooting at clown-drawn paper targets dubbed “Eric” and “Danny”. Those are the first names of Council President Daniel Malloy and Vice President Eric Boxer.
Kessler has also vowed to fight in court if he’s terminated since he has an employment contract; but that can cut both ways. While employment contracts will stipulate grounds for termination, including the amount of severance package offered if any as well as the amount of notice given the employee, on the other hand they also require that the employer operate in good faith as it pertains to the employee. Called a “Covenant of good faith and fair dealing”, it’s inherent in all employee contracts. If a judge finds that the employee was treated unfairly, the employer is guilty of breaching the contract.
And, in an even stickier and more dangerous situation, the question becomes what happens to the weapons if he is fired as they would have to be confiscated. Michael Morrill admits, “That’s a federal issue”.
Update: The Glberton Council voted to extend Chief Kessler’s suspension indefinitely until both parties have a chance to meet privately. Neither Kessler nor his attorney, Joseph Nahas, was at he council meeting. This comes due to a scheduling conflict; council wanted to meet with Nahas Friday morning but the attorney was unable to do so because of prior obligations.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, NOLO, The Morning Call