In all lines of work, usually fellow members support each other vigorously. but the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department takes that support way beyond the limits of decency.
More than a year ago, an angry man took to Facebook and asked whether a race war was needed to cleanse America and repair its moral values.
Nothing about his comments was unique or noteworthy, especially on the Internet, where hatred and ignorance fester on message boards like cancer. Except this man was a Las Vegas police officer, sworn to protect and serve everyone.
“Let’s just get this over! Race war, Civil, Revolution? Bring it! I’m about as fed up as a man (American, Christian, White, Heterosexual) can get!” Metro Detective Bobby Kinch wrote in one of several posts obtained by The Sunday.
Kinch’s posts shocked and offended many of his fellow officers, who viewed them as unfiltered public expressions of racism. But what really angered officers about Kinch’s behavior — which eventually prompted an investigation by the Secret Service into threats against the president — was that Metro’s leadership did nothing about it.
After a long internal investigation and a months-long suspension, Kinch is back working for Metro after a slap on the wrist, continuing to investigate cases.
You know a police officer has really crossed the line when his fellow officers turn on him and save the evididence.
Kinch, a 21-year veteran at Metro, posted the comments around Christmas 2013. The Sunday obtained several screenshots of Kinch’s Facebook posts, taken by officers who wanted to preserve them. The posts have since been shared widely across the department.
As investigators dug deeper, they found such disturbing stuff that they turned him over the the secret service.
Investigators received a photo of Kinch, apparently taken at his birthday party, of the detective pointing a handgun at a collectible plate of Obama, a gag gift from friends who knew Kinch disliked the president.Deputy Chief Gary Schofield, the former head of Metro’s internal affairs bureau, immediately notified the Secret Service’s watch desk in Washington, D.C., telling them a highly-trained officer in Las Vegas with access to weapons could be a threat to the president, sources said.
By the next morning, federal agents were preparing subpoenas to detain Kinch and raid his Las Vegas home, sources said.
Kinch eventually was interviewed by Secret Service agents, who said they determined he wasn’t a credible threat to the president.
Even with his race-hate posts on Facebook and his anti-Obama pictures the LVMPD gave him a slap on the wrist. Nice going.
Internal investigations and officers’ personnel files aren’t public record in Nevada, but Kinch confirmed he received a written reprimand — the lowest form of department discipline — for breaking the agency’s social media policy.
That surprised many officers, who said they expected the detective to be removed from the street or even fired. It isn’t clear who suggested a written reprimand as punishment, but it likely wasn’t Kinch’s lieutenant.
Nichols, according to sources, sent a five-page memo to his superiors outlining the reasons Kinch could no longer work as an officer. He also refused to allow the detective back in the career criminals section.
Instead, Kinch was transferred to the robbery section, another of Metro’s prestigious detective jobs. By remaining in the same bureau, Kinch was able to maintain the extra pay and benefits afforded by his previous assignment, sources said.
Nichols declined to comment about the Kinch case, citing internal investigations.
But he and other officers were disappointed by the outcome, sources said.
“We had a chance to do the right thing,” an officer said. “It would have been the easiest thing in the world to say (to people), ‘Look, you’re upset with what’s going on in Ferguson? Well, we had an officer here that did this crap, and we fired him. But we dropped the ball.”