Hearing on Pa. police chief under fire ends when loaded gun hits floor

Oct. 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM
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GILBERTON, Pa., Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A hearing for a Pennsylvania police chief who made profanity-filled Internet videos ended after a loaded gun of one of chief's supporters fell onto the floor.

The semi-automatic handgun fell out of its holster onto a concrete floor during a hearing Thursday, landing inches away from Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler and his attorney, Joseph Nahas. The weapons did not discharge, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, reported Friday.

Nahas said that he and other officials were concerned about the safety of all who were attending the meeting in the borough hall.

"To have what happened in this particular room made of concrete and steel, I think, could be fatal for many, many people," Nahas said.

The supporter who dropped the weapon declined comment.

"It's alarming," Nahas said after the hearing ended. "I can't conduct my job appropriately when handguns are being dropped on concrete."

Nahas said the hearing would be continued at a courthouse, where weapons are prohibited.

Town officials already voted to begin the process of firing Kessler, but due process rules say the chief is entitled to call witnesses at a public hearing, WCAU said.

Nahas maintains the borough council fabricated unrelated charges against Kessler, the town's only police officer, to hide its intent to fire him over the videos. Kessler has said Internet videos were meant to draw attention to what he says is an erosion of constitutional rights.

Thursday's hearing concerned allegations that Kessler improperly used a state purchasing program to buy tires for his personal vehicle and failed to submit crime reports as required under state law, WCAU said. Kessler denies any wrong-doing.

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