published Friday, February 21st, 2014

Foul-mouthed Pennsylvania chief 'voluntarily retired'




Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler, center, talks with members of the Constitutional Security Force outside Borough Hall before the Gilberton Borough Council meeting in Gilberton, Pa., in this July 31, 2013, file photo.
Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler, center, talks with members of the Constitutional Security Force outside Borough Hall before the Gilberton Borough Council meeting in Gilberton, Pa., in this July 31, 2013, file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A small-town Pennsylvania police chief who gained notoriety for his profanity-laced Internet tirades about the Second Amendment and liberals has left the department — and signed up to star in his own reality TV show.

Gilberton officials reached a settlement agreement with Mark Kessler on Thursday that pays him $30,000 and considers him as "separated from his employment and voluntarily retired," according to the document, released to The Associated Press through an open-records request Friday.

"The matter's been amicably resolved," said borough attorney John Dean. "Gilberton's moving on, as is Chief Kessler."

Borough officials suspended Kessler last year, then began the process of firing him, after he posted videos of himself shooting borough-owned automatic weapons and cursing liberals and others. The videos garnered hundreds of thousands of views online. Kessler has acknowledged they're inflammatory, but said he posted them to draw attention to the erosion of Second Amendment and other constitutional rights.

Kessler's settlement prohibits him from attending Gilberton municipal meetings or having any contact with the mayor or borough council members. Kessler had previously used his Internet radio show to make vulgar sexual references to borough council members, calling one a drunk and threatening violence against another.

Kessler, 42, a former coal miner who has spoken at gun-rights rallies around the country, said Friday he has signed with a production company to star in his own, as-yet-untitled, reality show. He said it will focus on his life and his efforts to start a militia-style group.

"It's gonna be good. It's gonna be a different side of me," he said. "I'll knock 'Honey Boo Boo' out of the water."

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