Kent gives $1.5 million payout to assistant police chief who had Nazi insignia on office door

The City of Kent has reached a settlement of more than $1.5 million with the assistant police chief who had been suspended for displaying Nazi insignia on his office door, the city announced Friday.

The city settled the matter with Derek Kammerzell on Wednesday for $1,520,000, after the former assistant chief had asked for more than $3 million.

In September 2020, Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell was given a two-week suspension for violating city policies by displaying the insignia on his office door.

According to the city, the two-week suspension was “appropriate based on the facts and after considering the assistant chief’s 27 years of performance without discipline, the lack of any allegations of excessive force during his career, and a record with no known complaints from the community.”

However, in late December 2021, the city received complaints that Kammerzell’s discipline did not meet the expectations of many in the community. Kammerzell was placed on administrative leave and asked to resign.

“When he was placed on leave, we made a statement that he would not be returned to work,” the city said. “We also noted that under federal and state law, the city was unable to terminate the assistant chief or otherwise change the discipline imposed based on double jeopardy principles. As a result, we noted that his resignation would come at a high cost to the city.”

Kammerzell originally demanded $3,112,317, but on Wednesday, the city settled the matter with him for $1,520,000.

“While this is a substantial sum, we strongly believe that settling this matter will be a substantial step towards meeting our commitment to the community and continuing with the excellent work the police department is doing,” the city said. “It was clear that the Assistant Chief would have significant difficulty being an effective leader in the department and the community, and that his presence would distract from the mission of the department.”