In the small town/borough of Gilberton, Pennsylvania a debate is raging over the town’s Chief of Police, Mark Kessler. To put this heated drive to move Chief Kessler out of his office, it’s important to know that Keystone Progress (as in Progressive) delivered a petition bearing 20,000 signatures demanding Kessler’s termination. In 2011 the town population was 765 persons. The deliverer of the Keystone Progress petition was Michael Morrill, the Executive Director of Keystone Progress and a columnist at the far-left Daily Kos. I seriously doubt Morrill lives in Gilberton. At the bottom of this post read more about Keystone Progress.
Robert Wagner, a Gilberton councilman, called Kessler’s phone and left a message regarding kids on his street being disruptive on dirt bikes. He wanted Kessler to do something about it and he cursed. How he cursed we don’t know, but he admits he did. Did he curse as a man angry about what was happening outside his home or did he curse directly to and about Kessler? There is a difference. Did he threaten the town Chief of Police? UPDATE 8-10-13 @ 12:18 pm CDT: according to the ACLU complaint, Mr. Wagner did not threaten Mr. Kessler.
Unable to reach Chief Kessler, Wagner left a voicemail, using profanity to describe the actions of the teens and to express his frustration with his local law enforcement and government officials. He then called Mayor Mary Lou Hannon and used similar language to describe his frustration about the unruly behavior of the teens in his neighborhood. Source: ACLU
Kessler reportedly arrested the councilman on two counts of misdemeanor harassment, strip-searched him and put him jail for 6 hours. The Mayor of Gilberton, Mary Lou Hannon was allegedly made aware of the arrest before it happened.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of Wagner, reported on October 6, 2011 (see the link above). The charges against Wagner were dismissed on August 4 2010.
There are reports/blogs online that claim Wagner was “cavity-searched’ but a “strip-search” and a “cavity search” are two completely different things, although it has to be horrific to be the target of either. The ACLU article linked above mentions the word “strip search[ed] four times. If Mr. Wagner endured a “cavity” search, I’m betting the word “cavity” would be prominent in the lawsuit.
The ACLU fought to uphold the “right to free speech under the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States. Remember this as it is important to the rest of the story.
Flash forward to July 15, 2013 when Chief Kessler posted a video on YouTube (there may have been a couple in the same vein). He held a piece of paper in his hand and quoted Secretary of State John Kerry saying he would sign the U.N. Arms Treaty with the United Nations, even though “lawmakers” opposed the signing. After Kessler gave his profanity-laced opinion of the news, he turned and shot a machine-gun in rapid fire and then walked out of camera view.
I have written about this Treaty many times, and believe me, it’s enough to make some of us use every profane word in our arsenal of profane words – some arsenals are larger than others. He was clearly frustrated that the Rule of Law in this country is dead. See the video below.
At least one on the City Council was upset at Kessler’s video. Kessler’s attorney Joseph Nahas says Councilman Eric Boxer “went door to door” to raise opposition to Kessler. A Council meeting was called to discuss Kessler’s future with the town on July 31, 2013. He was suspended for 30 days without pay. The vote was 5-1 for suspension, but…the suspension was for using the machine gun in the video, which was Bourough property, “without permission and on personal time.”
Joseph P. Nahas, attorney for Chief Mark Kessler, held a press conference Tuesday at his office in Frackville and said that since the July 31 council meeting at which Kessler was suspended, he has obtained “alarming information” about a councilman.
“What we learned is that on the day of the meeting, an individual by the name of Eric Boxer, who is on council and who seconded (the motion to suspend Kessler), Mr. Boxer went around to the residents of Gilberton and was trying to garnish a vote to terminate Mr. Kessler. This is a councilman who is supposed to be objective, hear evidence and make a decision as a council member,” Nahas said.
“We were under the full assumption and belief that Chief Kessler had the support of his mayor and that he would have a fair hearing that day when they met in executive session. We didn’t know it was going to be a kangaroo court,” said Nahas, who added that he believes Kessler’s suspension will eventually become a termination.
Nahas asked three residents of Maizeville to come to his office to verify for the gathered media that Boxer had gone door-to-door to encourage opposition to Kessler. None of the residents were in the room where the press conference was held but they listened from the waiting room.
Walter Kuczynski said he didn’t feel pressured by Boxer and that he supports Kessler as a good borough police officer.
“I like Mark. He does a good job,” Kuczynski said. “I’m here to support the man. He takes care of the borough.”
Margaret Dean echoed Kuczynski’s comments.
“I got a visit from Boxer and I told him that Mark didn’t do anything to anybody in the town,” Dean said. “This has nothing to do with him being a policeman in Gilberton. I think he’s a great cop. We have troubles down there and when we call, he always comes right over. I think all this is about is they (council) just want a part-time policeman.”
William Weikel said that when he was approached by Boxer and another person at his home, he was asked about siding with those who want to remove Kessler as chief.
“I just told them to get off my property,” Weikel said. Source: Republican Herald
A spokesman for Eric Boxer said that Boxer was acting “as a councilman and was talking with his constituents to see how they feel.”
The Bourough has required Kessler to refrain from referring to his affiliation as Police Chief in videos or in any public statement including wearing his uniform, when he rants about politics (my interpretation). Attorney Nahas says Kessler has complied. He is also required to report on the purchases of firearms during his tenure and the current inventory of those purchases. Kessler has been a police officer in Gilberton for 14 years and Police Chief for 7 years.
Kessler’s website says he personally donated, to the town, the “property” he is to refrain from using.
On the night of July 31st outside City Hall where Michael Morrill appeared with his petition, people came from “multiple states” to support Kessler. According to this report, they showed up armed.
When it came time to open the small borough building for the public meeting, these armed men blocked the doors and prevented people from going inside. The mayor hand-selected members of the media who were granted access. Gilberton residents were admitted first.
Kessler says the Liberal media wanted his “head on a platter.” He may be right. Read on.
Many of the stories online make reference to Kessler’s “militia.” On Kessler’s website he uses a heading titled “Chief Kessler’s Constitution Security Force,” with no explanation of who or what that “security force” is. In an article titled Pennsylvanians ask fed to help disarm intimidating small-town militia, a claim is made that those showing up the night of the meeting were Kessler’s “homegrown militia called Kessler’s Constitution Security Force….”
In all, around 100 members of the CSF — outfitted with AR-15 assault rifles — are said to have descended on the scene last Wednesday. Inside the borough hall, the handful of residents lucky enough to bypass Kessler’s security detail spoke of the chief’s intimidation tactics — and a petition signed by 20,000 people demanding Kessler’s termination was delivered to the council.
Nevermind that other reports say supporters came from “multiple” states. Does Kessler have his own personal militia? I don’t know.
But what we do know is that Michael Morrill of Keystone Progress came to town with his petition of 20,000 signatures in a town of 765 residents.
Keystone Progress with Morrill at the head gives this partial description of who they are:
We’re a marketing department for progressive ideas – a campaign that never stops. We work year-round to challenge conservative propaganda in the media and make sure that progressive perspectives are heard.
By working together and uniting around issues important to Pennsylvania residents, we will:
● Build a stronger progressive movement in Pennsylvania. We will use innovative, internet-based organizing and communications strategies and tactics to dramatically expand active public support for progressive issues and policies.
● Secure major advances in progressive public policy. Working with other progressive groups, we will use the power of real people to encourage bold policy changes.
Morrill is quoted mentioning dangerous places he has been in his life and said Gilberton that night was “more frightening than any of those situations.” Yet Mayor Mary Lou Hannon apparently walked to the door, opened it, and admitted press and town residents – with no problem. She has made this statement:
Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon said in a statement that she hopes Kessler returns in one month and the entire experience “does not leave a bad taste in his mouth.” It might never come to that, though, if a petition hosted on the White House’s ‘We the People’ webpage garners support in Washington. (see the link to Pennsylvanians ask fed to help disarm….. above)
The second video below is alleged to be Mayor Mary Lou Hannon (white hair) speaking to a young reporter who asks “Do you see the opponents side at all?” Hannon asks, “Do I see what opponents side? I don’t think there is another side. We’re in America. There is a Constitution. There’s only one side. We’re under one Constitution, so there shouldn’t be no different side. There’s only one side and that’s the Constitution of the United States of America and it’s freedom for all.”
Doubts about liberals being behind this? There is a petition on WhiteHouse.gov We The People calling for Kessler’s professional demise. The only link I can find is on the Facebook page Try Chief Kessler of CFS for Treason and here. “Treason” because he “attempt[ed] to overthrow the government.” The page has 19 LIKES.
Although Gilberton only holds around 700 citizens, nearly 900 people have already signed their names to a petition asking the Pennsylvania National Guard to come and disarm Kessler “and his thugs.” Source: (see the link to Pennsylvanians ask fed to help disarm….. above)
Anti-Second Amendment brings it’s 20,000 signatures to town. One look at Keystone Progress blogroll, the battiest of Moonbats, and you’ll understand why Morrill is trying to unseat a conservative Police Chief who has vowed to protect First and Second Amendment rights, and is appalled by the U.N. Small Arms Trade Treaty – as we all should be. Here’s what Chief Kessler was so upset about in the video below:
…With the Senate already strongly signalling via a non-binding vote that they will not support the U.N. Small Arms Trade Treaty, the U.S. voted for the treaty today at the U.N. Source
UPDATE 7:31 pm CDT: I forgot to come back to the issue of Free Speech. In the lawsuit the ACLU filed and won for Wagner they claimed protection for Wagner’s First Amendment rights. Those wanting to boot Kessler for his defense of firearms and lawfully having those around him who also carry, have no substance to the argument. They are anti-Second Amendment and anti-First Amendment when the speech used is offensive to them – in this case likely shining a spotlight on John Kerry.