Gilberton, Penn. police Chief Mark Kessler said Wednesday he was exercising his First and Second Amendment rights when he posted profanity-ridden videos to YouTube, in which he fires machine guns and calls Secretary of State John Kerry a “traitor” for supporting a U.N. arms treaty.
In a phone interview with the Pottsville Republican-Herald newspaper, Kessler defended two July 15 Youtube videos that went viral this week, one up to 31,319 views Tuesday from just 3,280 views on Monday by that newspaper’s count. The videos show him in plain clothes firing automatic weapons while going on verbal tirades about gun rights.
“I think the video is in support of the Constitution — the support of the First Amendment, the right to express your thoughts and words freely without reprisal from any government,” Kessler told the Republican-Herald. “That’s why I used the vocabulary I did. As for the firing of the guns, that is my Second Amendment right. I have the right to keep and bear arms regardless of what the government says that I don’t.”
“You don’t see me going out and dragging people out of their vehicles and beating on them. You don’t see me doing anything like that,” he told the newspaper, comparing his videos to those that purport to show police brutality. “Did I use some vulgar language? Absolutely. Is it my right to do that? Absolutely. It’s the First Amendment. Did I fire off a gun? Absolutely.”
Kessler’s YouTube content extends beyond those two posts. His channel also features a rant against “libtards” and a gun demonstration in which Kessler, in police uniform, shot a photo of a clown that he described as “Nancy Pelosi with her gavel, when she was speaker of the House.”
Watch Kessler’s original YouTube posts below:
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.