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Norfolk police officer fired after investigation into Kyle Rittenhouse defense fund donation

A police officer in Norfolk, Va., has been fired after donating to a legal defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wis., last year, and pledging support for his actions. 

Sgt. William Kelly made the $25 anonymous donation to the fund through GiveSendGo, according to The Guardian, which noted that the Christian crowdfunding site suffered a major security breach that exposed the email addresses of people who had made donations to Rittenhouse's fund. 

Kelly also reportedly left a message to Rittenhouse with his donation. 

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“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong," Kelly wrote, according to the British newspaper. "Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Kelly was fired this week, officials said. 

"I have reviewed the results of the internal investigation involving Lt. William Kelly," Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer said in a statement, according to Norfolk local news outlet WAVY. "Chief Larry Boone and I have concluded Lt. Kelly’s actions are in violation of City and departmental policies. His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve. The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable." 

Boone, in a statement of his own, asked the public not to lose faith in the department following the revelations about Kelly's donation. 

“A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them,” Boone said. “We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”

Rittenhouse is facing homicide charges and a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession. He has pleaded not guilty and has argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot the protesters.