A 30-year veteran of the NYPD (New York Police Department) has been outed as a writer for the infamous online cop forum — “The Rant” law enforcement rant.
Known for its malicious and racist posts, “The Rant” has been taken down after a high-ranking NYPD officer was unmasked in an oversight report for making “racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and homophobic sentiments,” The New York Post reported.
Proboards.com, a remotely hosted message board service, removed the forum from its platform.
In early November, Deputy Inspector James Francis Kobel, 50, was identified as “The Rant” user “Clouseau,” who was posted hundreds of hateful comments, according to a report from the City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations Division.
The comments Kobel allegedly made included calling Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark “a gap-toothed wildebeest.” Clark is Black. Kobel also referred to President Barack Obama as a “Muslim-savage” and New York Cty Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bi-racial son, Dante, as “brillohead.” Dante has been known to wear his hair in a large Afro.
In one post, Kobel called Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — a Somali-American Democrat — a “filthy animal.”
Kobel, ironically, was head of the NYPD’s workplace discrimination office, part of its Equal Employment Opportunity Division. The division was created “for the prevention and investigation of employment and harassment claims,” according to its website.
Kobel and “The Rant” were a topic of discussion on Twitter.
One user posted, “The fact that he works in the employee advocacy space is no surprise either. This is the number one reason things don’t change. Whiteness is protected at all costs and inserted in areas to prevent any real change.”
Others commented on the state of the NYPD: “The inmates are running the asylum” and “Wolves guarding the henhouse is so very american….”
“This IS AMERICA” a Twitter user succinctly wrote.
Between the summer of 2019 and the fall of 2020, “Clouseau” posted hundreds of messages on the Rant. Many attacked Black people, Puerto Ricans, Hasidic Jews and others with an unbridled sense of animus, The New York Times reported.
Kobel has since been moved to the transit bureau. He denied posting anonymously on “The Rant”.
“I am unfamiliar with any of these posts,” Kobel told The New York Times. “I’m unfamiliar with ‘Clouseau.’ I don’t post on ‘The Rant.’”
His denials were disproved by police investigators who said they found on his personal cell phone a copy of the digital photo the anonymous writer used on the message board as an avatar — a picture of the Peter Sellers character Inspector Clouseau from the film “The Pink Panther.”
The inquiry was conducted by the New York City Council’s Oversight and Investigations Division, which put together its findings in a 13-page draft report. The division is overseen by Councilman Ritchie Torres, an Afro-Latino Democrat from the Bronx who recently won a seat in Congress.
Torres, who is openly gay, has been the target of insults posted on “The Rant.”
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Torres’s investigative team compared posts from “The Rant” with public information and determined that Kobel and “Clouseau” share “a number of specific professional and personal characteristics.”
Torres told The New York Times he was “as confident as I could be” that the two people were the same man because the commonalities were “too coincidental to be a coincidence.”