Viral Video Shows Former Police Chief Anthony Campo Placing A “Ku Klux Klan” Sign on the Officer’s Jacket; City of Sheffield Lake Has Not Complied with Public-Records Request.
SHEFFIELD LAKE, OH///NOVEMBER 11, 2021///The Black police officer who was the victim of racist workplace harassment captured in a viral video filed a discrimination charge against the City of Sheffield Lake Police Department and petitioned for the release of public records documenting offensive conduct perpetrated by the former police chief. The attorneys of Officer Keith Pool, who still works for the city, filed a discrimination charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and a mandamus petition with the Supreme Court of Ohio to compel his employer to provide public records documenting race-based harassment committed by former police chief Anthony Campo.
A video of the June 25, 2021 incident went viral showing Campo placing a “Ku Klux Klan” sign on the officer’s jacket and then donning a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hat. This was not the first racist act that Campo perpetrated while on duty. But the City of Sheffield Lake has not complied with its obligation to provide public records pertinent to this and other incidents.
Campo used a city computer and printer to create the Ku Klux Klan sign and put it over the “Police” designation on Officer Pool’s raincoat. After Officer Pool found the Ku Klux Klan sign, Campo made a pointy Ku Klux Klan paper hat and wore it, telling Officer Pool to wear it during his next call. Campo performed these acts while on duty at the police station and in full view of the surveillance camera and other city personnel. He was permitted to resign rather than being fired.
On multiple other occasions, Campo produced racist and offensive images using photos of city personnel, often posting them on the police bulletin board or leaving them on employees’ desks. The images included one of Officer Pool as the grim reaper (describing him as “The Raccoon Reaper”) and another of the city’s only Latino officer on a bottle of hot sauce wearing a sombrero. Because the City of Sheffield Lake has not fully complied with its obligations under the Ohio Public Records Act, Officer Pool’s attorneys have asked the state’s highest court to mandate the release of these public records.
Officer Pool’s lead counsel, Ashlie Case Sletvold of Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, said, “In Ohio, public records are the people’s records. And our Supreme Court has consistently enforced the public’s right to access public records to shine a light on abuse and corruption in government. Officer Keith Pool is a dedicated public servant who endured vicious racial harassment from his superior officer. The city must comply with its statutory duties under the Public Records Act and account for the harassment it permitted the former chief to perpetrate.”
Officer Keith Pool said: “This was not the first incidence of racist and offensive conduct committed by my former boss, Anthony Campo. It was just the first time he got caught on video. I have direct knowledge of numerous examples of this kind of workplace harassment, and the City of Sheffield Lake’s failure to turn over public records related to these abuses makes me feel dehumanized and insulted.”
On July 30, 2021, Officer Pool requested public records related to Campo’s employment, training, and discipline from Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring and Law Director David Graves. Officer Pool’s request also sought records documenting the racial harassment and abuse performed by Campo including the surveillance video of the June 25 incident and the racist images Campo generated and posted while on duty. The city provided the surveillance video and other records but failed to provide the racist images Campo created to mock and humiliate employees of color or various official memoranda he issued during his tenure.
Joseph C. Peiffer, managing partner, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, said: “If it wasn’t bad enough that the former police chief was engaged in rampant racist workplace harassment, now the city that hired him appears to be helping to cover it up. Racial harassment has no place in law enforcement, and we will ensure that the City of Sheffield Lake will face a reckoning for all of the despicable behavior conducted by its former Police Chief.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Max Karlin at (216) 225-6765 or [email protected].
ABOUT PEIFFER WOLF CARR KANE & CONWAY
The law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway maintains offices in Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Austin, Youngstown, and New Orleans.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The time-stamped court filing, related news release, and a streaming version of the November 11th news event will be available later that same day at https://peifferwolf.com/.