Gilberton Police Chief Suspended
GILBERTON — It was a chaotic night Wednesday in Schuylkill County where a police chief who posted a profanity-laced tirade online was disciplined by his borough council.
Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler is seen firing off three fully automatic weapons in that video.
The crowd clashed outside Gilberton’s borough building as borough council decided the fate of Police Chief Mark Kessler.
Inside the meeting the decision was to suspend the police chief for 30 days with no pay.
“I make a motion to discipline Chief Kessler for the use of borough property for non-borough purposes without prior borough permission,” said the board president.
The video shows Kessler yelling profanities while firing off three fully automatic weapons; those guns are borough property.
Some residents at the meeting felt the punishment wasn’t enough.
“If you look on those videos he threatens the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He’s wearing a Gilberton chief of police badge and he should be fired,” said one resident.
“Should he go back to duty and God forbid an unfortunate incident should occur and that the borough could be sued, it will be a major liability issue,” said another resident.
“Kessler is a detriment to this borough, so my wife is afraid of him so I’m going to be afraid of him too,” said one man.
Others still stood by their chief.
“I think that as long as the does his job while he’s on duty, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
Kessler’s attorney told council, this was a situation blow out of proportion, by the media.
“Saw it in the Pottsville Republican, watched it on Newswatch 16,” said attorney Joseph Nahas. “If it was a vanilla video, if it was something just normal, normal speech, normal tone, without the accentuation of a weapon, without the accentuation of profanity, I don’t think it would got any attention.”
Gilberton’s mayor said Kessler still has her support.
“He has the right to freedom of speech. I’m a big supporter of the constitution. What he did council obviously felt strong enough,” said Mayor Mary Lou Hannon.
The mayor said until Kessler returns to duty, state police will serve the borough.