A Chesterfield County police officer who was suspended after being accused of having ties to a white supremacist organization has now been fired, the police chief announced Thursday.
The views espoused by and attributed to the officer, Daniel Morley, who most recently worked as a school resource officer, violated the department’s policy and its organizational values, Police Chief Jeffery Katz said in a statement announcing the firing.
“While I will not get into specifics of this personnel matter, I want you to know that my decision to terminate Mr. Morley is predicated on the well-founded belief that his affiliation and online activities make it impossible for him to carry out his duties in a way that would contribute to the building of trust and the maintenance of legitimacy our police department shares with our supportive community,” Katz said.
“Our community deserves to know the men and women of their police department, respect and revere them — whoever they may be,” the chief added. “It is true that Mr. Morley has a First Amendment right to free speech and association. However, the views espoused by and attributed to Mr. Morley violate county and departmental policy and our organizational values; his continued employment is antithetical to the expectations of our personnel and those we serve.”
Katz said the matter first came to the department’s attention when the Richmond Times-Dispatch sent a tip it received about Morley’s affiliation with Identity Evropa — “an organization widely known for promoting white nationalism,” Katz said.
“Online postings and activities attributed to this officer were reviewed, and once authenticated, the officer — widely reported as Daniel Morley, a school resource officer at L.C. Bird High School — was administratively suspended,” the chief said. “Our administrative investigation has concluded and we have afforded the officer his due process rights, which is our obligation under Virginia Law.”
“Policing in today’s polarized society is challenging,” Katz added. “Successful policing requires relationships rooted in trust.”
Through a family member, Morley has declined several requests for comment.
During the week of March 11, The Times-Dispatch received an email from someone who identified himself or herself as a member of the Colorado Springs, Colo., branch of antifa, a national movement of left-leaning militant groups whose name is shorthand for anti-fascists.
The Colorado Springs branch alleged that Morley is a member of Identity Evropa, has been a neo-Nazi since 2006, and posted comments on such websites as Stormfront, a white nationalist and white supremacist organization.
The group also claimed that Morley was a pledge coordinator for Identity Evropa, also known as American Identity Movement.
The Times-Dispatch sent the email containing the allegations to Chesterfield police officials on March 13, and asked the department about the accusations. Five days later, the allegations went viral on social media, and the department announced that Morley had been suspended pending an investigation. The chief said at that time that he was recommending the officer be fired.
In his statement on Thursday, Katz did not specify which of the allegations against Morley had been substantiated by the department’s Office of Professional Standards. A police spokeswoman said she would forward the newspaper’s questions to the chief.
Katz’s announcement that Morley has been fired came one day after the Division of Capitol Police announced that former Sgt. Robert A. Stamm, accused of having “an affinity” for white supremacy symbols, “was separated from his employment with the division, effectively immediately.”
Earlier this year, Antifascists of the Seven Hills, an antifa-affiliated group in Richmond, posted Stamm’s name, links to social media accounts in his name, and a description of his tattoos and interests they said had links to white supremacy. He had been placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 6, when the division began an investigation.