The city of Kent, Washington, will pay a police officer $1.5 million to resign after he displayed a Nazi insignia and joked about the Holocaust, according to the Seattle Times.
The bigger picture: The symbol — oak leaves and diamonds — were associated with Obergruppenführers, high-ranking Nazi officers.
- The symbols were taped to officer Derek Kammerzell’s office door, The New York Times says.
Disciplinary action: Originally the officer — a veteran who had been with the department for almost 30 years — was suspended without pay for two weeks, NBC reported. However, after receiving criticism that the punishment was too soft, the department attempted to remove Kammerzell from the department entirely.
- Eventually, the city came to an agreement with Kammerzell to pay him a $1.5 million settlement, in order to buy his resignation, according to a statement released by the city.
- “It was clear that the Assistant Chief would have significant difficulty being an effective leader in the Department and the community, and that his presence would distract from the mission of the department,” the city of Kent said in a media release.
- Under federal law, the city was not allowed to remove Kammerzell from his position, the statement says.
The officer’s response: Kammerzell stated that he knew the symbol was German but didn’t know it was related to Nazis, The Washington Post said.
Years earlier, another detective claimed Kammerzell showed him a picture of Kammerzell with a “Hitler mustache.” Kammerzell then said to the detective that he was photographed doing a Nazi salute but later denied it, per The Washington Post.