There is a problem with the police chief in the tiny coal town of Gilberton, Pa.
Police Chief Mark Kessler has been heading up the Gilberton Police Department for several years. To an outsider, his life as the face of law in a small town was about as uneventful as you would expect. That is, until last month. On July 15, Kessler received international attention by posting a YouTube video in which he slammed “libtards,” called John Kerry a traitor, bashed the U.N., and fired off dozens of rounds from an automatic rifle. A few days later, Kessler followed up on his first video by firing off more rounds of ammo in response to anyone who was offended by his first video.
But in Gilberton, Kessler is known for a lot more than YouTube videos. In addition to being the town’s police chief, Kessler is the head of the Constitution Security Force (CSF), a 100-man militia that vows to protect gun rights in the small town. For years, residents of Gilberton have been uncomfortable with Kessler’s antics. Some even feared that he could begin using his militia to police the town. After Kessler’s videos were posted, residents of the town finally had something they could use against him in an attempt to remove him from his post as police chief. A town meeting was called, during which Kessler was suspended for using borough property for personal use. The town council ruled that Kessler used police department guns without permission.
But the meeting was all but uneventful. At the meeting, more than 100 of Kessler’s militia members showed up. The men, all carrying firearms, blocked the entrance to the Gilberton Town Hall and prevented residents from going inside. Few managed to get past Kessler’s security, but those who did spoke to town councilmen about their disdain for Kessler and the position he holds in the town.
“He’s a nut," said resident Wade Necker. "I do not feel safe with him at all.”
Another resident, Gregory Grove, said that even Kessler’s wife fears him.
“She’s afraid of him,” he said. “Kessler is a detriment to this borough.”
Residents then delivered a petition signed by 20,000 people demanding that Kessler be removed from his position with the police department. Ultimately, the town council decided, via a 5-1 vote, to suspend Kessler for a month.
In the meantime, a petition at WhiteHouse.gov asking the Pennsylvania National Guard to “remove Kessler and his thugs” is gaining support. The petition has accrued nearly 1,000 signatures since being posted several days ago.
Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon has not commented on whether Kessler will be permanently removed from his position as police chief. For now, Hannon hopes Kessler returns in one month and “does not have a bad taste in his mouth.”
Here are Kessler’s two now-infamous videos. Warning: they are laced with explicit language.