The List: Eyebrow-raising Twitter posts from the Columbus deputy chief

Alive staff
Columbus Police Deputy Chief Ken Kuebler, center, speaks at a news conference in 2016 with Columbus City Council President Zach Klein, left, and Columbus Division of Fire Deputy Chief Jim Davis.

Deputy Chief Ken Kuebler wants everyone to know that he won't hold back on Twitter in the wake of a Monday report in the Dispatch that his tweets are the subject of a city investigation.

"I’ve said it many times before and I’m not going to be silent. You can investigate me. Criticize me. Disagree with me. Sanction me. Whatever. I’m not sacrificing my principles," he wrote in a tweet Monday night, following a day he spent on the platform quoting Orwell ("Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen") and jabbing atthe reported $50,000 figure law firm BakerHostetler could be paid to conduct investigations into potential violations of the Division of Police’s rules on social-media posts.

But Kuebler is not one to let facts get in the way of a good narrative, as he has demonstrated time and again on Twitter. Here are just a small selection of the public servant's tweets that could raise eyebrows.

"The smoldering ruins of our once great city."

In terms of creating a false narrative, you don't have to look any further than protests that have been taking place in the city since late May, and which have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Yes, on the first weekend, in particular, some individuals did engage in criminal acts, smashing windows Downtown and along High Street. Some stores were even looted. But to post multiple tweets suggesting the city is "being utterly destroyed" and "burned to the ground by criminals" is to deny reality.

"Prediction. More children will die from 'remote learning' than COVID."

Right-wing politicians have been making failed predictions about COVID-19 since it reached our shores, with President Donald Trump saying in February the U.S. case count would "soon be near zero," and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis taking a premature victory lap when the state reported fewer coronavirus cases prior to a devastating early summer spike. And yet here is an officer of the law suggesting that opening schools might be safer than not, which flies in the face of medical advice (and also ignores the fact that children are not the only people who will occupy these school buildings). 

The time he retweeted Andy Ngo.

It's undoubtedly eyebrow-raising for a public employee to share any posts from a propagandist prone to making dubious claims, palling around with far-right hate groups and partaking in smear campaigns that have led to actual journalists getting death threats.

"The story is a complete fabrication."

Kuebler has repeatedly revisited one protest scene in which it was initially alleged that police has taken an amputee's prosthetic legs, a charge CPD refuted, demanding that people who shared the initial story correct themselves. Meanwhile, a heavily circulated CPD tweet about a bus of potentially violent, armed-to-the-teeth protesters stands uncorrected or updated weeks after being debunked. These kinds of corrections should go both ways, no?

"I'm not going to wear a mask."

An overwhelming majority of scientists have made it known that, absent still-undeveloped antibody treatments or a vaccine, universal masking is the best tool we have to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Not that Kuebler wants to hear any of this.

"This is gaslighting." 

Kuebler's use of "gaslighting" is in reference to a tweet from Shannon Hardin in which the City Council president said that he was part of a peaceful protest prior to being hit with tear gas at 11 a.m. But Hardin was simply recounting events as they happened. The real gaslighting is in Kuebler's subsequent question ("Why aren't you downtown at 11:30 PM?") which sidesteps the reality of Hardin's statement and attempts to shift the narrative.

"Only two of the people in this video go to work everyday to help people they've never met before."

Kuebler consistently rails against the phrase ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) for being blindly dismissive of an entire block of people, and yet he'll turn around and cast similar aspersions on protesters, such as in this tweet where he suggests that only the police officers shown in the video could possibly have jobs that contribute to the public good. 

The police will protect and serve... as long as we have your unquestioned support.

This retweet is one of the more damning posts on Kuebler's feed, because it suggests that one can't criticize the police and then turn around and expect full protection under the law.