Reportedly facing termination, Police Chief Anthony Campo retired from the Sheffield Lake Police Department following the incident, which was caught on camera

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 02, 2021 06:30 PM
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The Ohio police chief who was filmed placing a note with the words "Ku Klux Klan" on a raincoat on the desk of a Black officer has resigned following the incident.

Anthony Campo, a 33-year veteran of the Sheffield Lake Police Department, left his position after a meeting with Mayor Dennis Bring on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

In surveillance footage taken on June 25, Campo — who did not return PEOPLE's request for comment — was filmed arranging a yellow raincoat on the unidentified Black officer's desk in a way that resembled the hood and robe of a KKK member. Campo then placed a note displaying the name of the white supremacist group on the coat and waited a few feet away until the officer returned.

Footage of the incident obtained by Cleveland.com does not contain sound, and it is not publicly known what Campo and the officer said to each other next. The officer joined the department only nine months ago, the outlet added.

"He thought this was just a joke," Bring told the outlet of his meeting with Campo. "How can you possibly think that you can put something on somebody's jacket like that, and especially if they were African American, and think this is a joke?"

Bring — who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment — claimed the former police chief did not understand why his actions caused so much outrage.

"[Campo] says, 'I don't understand what everybody's all upset about. This was just a joke,'" Bring recalled, as reported by Morning Journal.

"I don't know what was going through that man's mind," he continued. "I don't have a clue. And like I said, that's what he keeps saying. I think everybody else's views of what he did is not a joke."

Bring told the outlet he planned to fire Campo, but ultimately allowed him to submit his retirement paperwork.

In comments made to Cleveland.com, Bring said he spoke with the officer and apologized on behalf of the city.

"It took us 10 minutes to talk to each other because we both sat there crying," he said. "I apologized to him. I can't describe it in one word. This is not a mistake. This is something so egregious I can't describe it."

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The officer told Bring he initially smiled at Campo after seeing the racist note because didn't know how to react to such an action from his superior.

Campo told the Morning Journal he hired the officer in question and meant the note to be an attempt at humor. He also reportedly offered an apology.

"That's all it was," he said. "I had a joking back and forth banter with that officer since I hired him."