Gilberton Police Chief Suspended For 30 Days - KMSP-TV

Gilberton Police Chief Suspended For 30 Days

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GILBERTON, Pa. -

Even with more than 100 armed supporters by his side. The police chief of the small coal mining town of Gilberton has been suspended for the next 30 days.

Women came with high heels and side arms. Men with their camo and rifles. Almost all of them came to support Gilberton police chief Mark Kessler.

But most people outside Gilberton know the town by it's gun-shooting profanity spewing police chief. He appears in a series of controversial videos that he posted recently on YouTube.

And some in town weren't happy either with their chief who is also a member of the local school board.

"Upsetting. The profanity. And that what has me upset. It's a reflection on our borough," says Rose McCarthy of Gilberton. "Guys won't listen unless somebody got colorful!!!! He enlisted violence which is wrong"

Tensions were high as a state police helicopter flew overhead and nearly 20 troopers were stationed nearby. The tiny borough hall was crammed with people as borough leaders voted to suspend Kessler for posting those videos and using borough owned guns in the videos.

"Coming from a small Christian community. The vulgarity. The violence. It was like watching an R-rated movie," says Mary Lou Hannon, the Gilberton Mayor.

Since posting the videos, Kessler says he's gotten death threats. People from across the country are also calling for his resignation. But there is also a ground swell of support, people here proudly packing their weapons.

One guy came all the way from Michigan.

"Do I think he used strong words? That's up to him. But I'm still standing behind him because of what he believes in," says Kenneth Rhoades of Michigan

Kessler says he shot the videos because he wants America to wake up. He says he wanted to get your attention.

"I stood up for my country. I stood up for what I believe in. I stood up for military personnel who fought and died overseas," says Mark Kessler, our newly suspended police chief. "They're entitled to their first amendment right like I am."

Gilberton's mayor says she hasn't talked to Kessler about the videos but plans on doing so. She also says she's hoping the chief will be back on the job a month from now.

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