Assistant Police Chief barely disciplined for Nazi symbol on office door

Kent Police Chief officially suspended him without pay but had the officer go on a two-week vacation instead.

  (photo credit: Photo credit: Stokes Lawrence law firm)
(photo credit: Photo credit: Stokes Lawrence law firm)

Derek Kammerzell, an assistant police chief in Kent, Washington, received a two-week suspension after displaying a picture of a Nazi insignia on the office door above his name in July 2021. He claimed to have been inspired by the Amazon Prime TV show The Man in the High Castle. Kammerzell said that he thought the symbol was merely a German rank and identified with it because of his German heritage. The symbol was up for about two weeks.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this incident,” Kammerzell said in a December 30 email to the Kent Reporter. “I wish I could take it back. I know now what that rank represents, and that is not what I value or who I am. The expectations for an assistant chief are, rightfully, incredibly high. I do my best every day to meet and exceed those expectations.” 
Yet the Amazon show’s premise, however, centers around an alternate version of history where Nazi Germany did win the Second World War and achieved world domination, and the symbol co-opted by Kammerzell historically denotes the rank of SS-Obergruppenfuhrer (senior group leader). The Seattle Times' research, therefore, concluded that the assistant police chief's claim was "not plausible."
The Kent Reporter notes that Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla officially suspended Kammerzell for "violating city policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination and for unbecoming conduct in violation of police policy." Padilla initially decided to suspend his deputy without pay but then gave him the option to use two weeks of vacation time, thereby having the suspension effectively exist on paper only. 
Kammerzell, who has served in the department for 27 years, has an alleged fascination with Nazis according to his coworkers. Internal documents show that the city also asked this case's investigator to go after other allegations of Nazi sympathies. Kammerzell showed the detective a photograph of himself with a Hitler mustache wearing lederhosen (leather breeches) and then referenced another photograph in which he was with an elected official and raised his hand in a “Heil Hitler” gesture.
  (credit: Kent Police Department) (credit: Kent Police Department)
Kammerzell was asked if he thought the two-week suspension was fair.

“I do,” he said. “I did not challenge this discipline and accepted it immediately. I will work the rest of my career at KPD to overcome this singular mistake,“ thus further denying any alleged Nazi sympathies.