He Thought We Was Finna Laugh: Ohio Police Chief Resigns After Leaving KKK Sign on Black Officer's Desk as a 'Joke'

·3 min read

Can someone explain to Anthony Campo what a joke is? Seriously, send him the dictionary definition of the word “joke,” because he clearly doesn’t know it.

The Morning Journal of Lisbon, Ohio reports that Campo–the former police chief of Sheffield Lake, Ohio–resigned June 29 after he left a note with the words “Ku Klux Klan” written on it on top of a Black officer’s raincoat. The incident was captured by surveillance footage obtained by the newspaper.

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From the Morning Journal:

Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring voiced his displeasure with Campo in a phone interview July 1 with The Morning Journal.

Bring said he became aware of the incident at 10 a.m., June 30, when law director David Graves stepped into his office holding a printed complaint from the police union that was “real bad.”

“I just looked at it and said, what’s this all about?” the mayor said. “And he goes, you aren’t even going to believe this.”

Bring told the Morning Journal that when he called Campo into his office to discuss his actions, he insisted that he was only joking when he left the note. Instead of laughing, the mayor hit him with administrative leave papers.

Handing him the administrative leave papers, Bring said he gave Campo 10 minutes to leave the premises and that he was “dumbfounded” by what he had heard.

“He says ‘this is what I get up to 30 years,’” the mayor said. “I said what you’re going to get is 10 minutes to get out of your office.

“I said I want your car keys, badge, the keys for the office, and I need you to get a ride home and remove yourself.”

Campo spoke to the newspaper about the incident and said that he’s not a racist and that he’s “sorry for anyone he offended.” He further explained that he and the officer “had a joking back and forth banter” since the day he hired him.

According to Bring, the officer was upset by Campo’s “joke” and was so surprised by it that he chucked as a “gut reaction.”

More from the Morning Journal:

“I just hope everybody understands that we acted fast,” Bring said. “I want everyone to understand that this is not our city.

“These are the actions of one individual.”

Even if this were just simply an extremely poor attempt at humor, I’m very confused as to how the note Campo left even constituted as a joke? Like, am I missing something here? Did the officer randomly drop off a note with something that white people find heinously offensive on the chief’s desk?

In the end, it doesn’t really matter. You’d think that the leader of a police department would know better than to do something like this (on camera, nonetheless), but folks like this are getting a little too comfortable out here. That’s why accountability is necessary time and time again.

In a follow-up story, the Morning Journal reported that the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wants city administration to require police retraining after Campo’s “despicable act of overt racism.” The organization has also taken issue with the fact that Campo was allowed to “retire” instead of being outright fired for his actions.