Controversial Police Chief Speaks Out

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GILBERTON -- The police chief who drew worldwide attention with a YouTube video filled with profanity and gunfire sat down to talk with Newswatch 16.

The chief and his attorney blame the media - in particular WNEP - for death threats they say he has received.

The video posted on YouTube is how Gilberton's police chief introduced himself to the world.  The video, posted about two weeks ago, shows Chief Mark Kessler swearing and firing automatic weapons.  So far,  it's received  nearly 300,000 hits.

"I think it's really opened people's eyes as to what's going on in this country as far as the infringements on our rights," said Chief Kessler.

Kessler and his attorney Joseph Nahas sat down in Frackville with Newswatch 16 to discuss the video Chief Kessler posted online.

Watch the entire interview below

"He did that as shock value. He did that as his plight as the right to bear arms and the right of free speech," said attorney Joseph Nahas of Frackville.

Chief Kessler blames media coverage sparked by the video for problems that he says include death threats against him and his family.

"That's why I can't leave my house without being armed. My children can't walk the streets of the town they've have grown up in for the past 11 years because of media coverage," said Kessler.  "And in particular, Bob, WNEP."

Chief Kessler is very passionate about the right to bear arms.

"The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting purposes or sporting purposes. The Second Amendment was specially designed by our founding fathers who came from an oppressive, tyrannical government," Kessler said.  "The Second Amendment that is all has to do with tyranny, tyranny in government.

The chief has his supporters and people who don't like what they saw and heard. The chief says he's received death threats. He blames the media attention.

"Telling me to kill myself, they're going to kill my children that I'd better sleep with a gun at night, if they see me they're going to kill me that their gun is bigger than mine that, they how to use it better, that they're going to decapitate me."

Chief Kessler says he posted this video to make a point.

"I have the right to express my First Amendment right to free speech, freedom of expression. I also have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. As the federal Constitution states (the) right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed and our state constitution states it shall not be questioned."

The chief says if he had another choice, he'd make the video again.  Although the mayor supports him, he is aware that the video is controversial.

"I have concerns about my job, sure. I have been there a long time. I have been loyal to the community. There's concerns there," Kessler said.

Kessler's boss, the mayor of Gilberton, has defended the chief on his demonstrations of free speech and Second Amendment rights.  But Kessler says he's uncertain about his job. Borough council is set to meet Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.

Chief Kessler is a member of the North Schuylkill School Board.  He says he won't resign that position or his job as chief of police because what he did was simply standing up for the Constitution.

The entire interview with Chief Kessler is posted here.