Inspector Kobel’s union defended him. Chris Monahan, the president of the Captain’s Endowment Association, said the inspector had an unblemished record for 28 years. “Unfortunately, he was already tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” Mr. Monahan said. “He chose to file for retirement and move on with this life, but the department sought to dismiss him instead.”
The events that led to Inspector Kobel’s downfall began last summer, when City Council investigators stumbled upon the series of racist postings on the Rant, a raw and often racist online forum where law enforcement officers vent about their jobs.
Even by the website’s crass and rowdy standards, the posts were unusually vicious. In addition to attacking Mr. Obama, the writer known as Clouseau compared one African-American prosecutor to a “wildebeest” and used an obscene slur to insult a female police chief.
The posts were also peppered with numerous details about the anonymous author’s life that matched the personal and professional biographies of Inspector Kobel, including the date he started in the department: June 30, 1992.
In October, the Council’s oversight division, led by Ritchie Torres, a Bronx councilman who is now a member of Congress, concluded in an exhaustively documented draft report that Clouseau and Inspector Kobel were the same person. The next month, The Times obtained the Council’s findings and presented them to the Police Department, which began its own inquiry.
The inspector steadfastly denied to The Times that he had penned the offensive posts, and provided the same response to police investigators, according to one senior police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter.
Internal Affairs investigators, however, not only found myriad parallels between the Clouseau posts and Inspector Kobel’s personal history, but they uncovered electronic evidence that he was behind the messages, the official said.