GILBERTON, Pa. — A northeastern Pennsylvania police chief suspended for posting videos in which he fired borough-owned automatic weapons while shouting obscenities could soon learn whether he’ll be fired.
The Gilberton Borough Council plans to meet Friday night. Officials haven’t said publicly what they will discuss, but it’s widely expected that police Chief Mark Kessler will learn his fate.
Friday is the last day of Kessler’s 30-day suspension over what the Gilberton council has said was unauthorized use of the weapons. His pro-gun videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views online. The videos show Kessler shouting about the Second Amendment and liberals while spraying machine-gun fire.
Kessler acknowledges the videos are incendiary but says they are designed to draw attention to what he views as the erosion of Second Amendment and other constitutional rights.
Some of Kessler’s critics won’t be at this meeting because of safety concerns.
“My board has told me not to go there,” Michael Morrill, executive director of Keystone Progress, a liberal advocacy group, told PennLive.com.
Keystone has gathered 23,000 signatures on a petition calling for Kessler’s firing.
Morrill said he expects the council to dismiss Kessler, but that the disposition of any fully automatic weapons or machine guns Kessler has could be more complicated. If Kessler is stripped of his status as a law enforcement officer it would be illegal for him to own or possess those weapons, Morrill said.
“That’s a federal issue,” Morrill said.
The FBI said it’s aware of the police chief and his videos.