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Ohio police chief retires following racial incident captured on camera, city says

Sheffield Lake PD Chief KKK incident.jpg
Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 12:21:13-04

Anthony Campo, the chief of the Sheffield Lake Police Department, has retired 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 placing a yellow police raincoat face down on a desk with the hood prominently visible. Then, Campo placed a white piece of paper with what appears to be three words printed on it over black "POLICE" lettering on the jacket.

The Sheffield Lake law director says that the wording on that piece of paper was "related to the KKK."

Sheffield Lake Police Rain Coat.png

The video shows Campo leave the room, and a Black officer walk in. Campo pointed out the coat and paper to him.

After Campo walked out of the room, the officer picked up the paper and the raincoat. Video shows that other officers came into the room and had a discussion.

The video has no sound, so it's unclear what was said.

Watch the video of the incident in the player below.

Sheffield Lake PD chief retires following incident at station

Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring said he takes the incident very seriously. He said he initially threatened to fire Campo but 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 in the incident 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."

"I'm disappointed and shocked," Bring added. "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."

When reached by telephone, Campo 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 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.

This story was originally published by Drew Scofield and Joe Pagonakis on Scripps station WEWS in Cleveland.

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