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Police chief resigns after public learns he used a fake social media account to harass a critic

'It made no sense and was clearly not the right thing to do'

Former Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo. (Image source: WPTZ-TV video screenshot)

A police chief in Vermont resigned Sunday after media and the public found out he had used a fake social media account to target and harass a local critic, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo announced his resignation in the face of public outcry after admitting that he had used a Twitter account called @WinkleWatchers to taunt Charles Winkleman, a political activist who had been critical of the Burlington Police Department.

Del Pozo had previously confessed his actions to Mayor Miro Weinberger on July 28. Weinberger placed del Pozo on leave, taking his badge, gun, and cellphone pending an internal investigation.

The investigation found that del Pozo had been diagnosed with a mental illness caused by a brain injury suffered during a 2018 bike accident, and that illness allegedly contributed to his behavior on social media.

So, the mayor announced on Aug. 2 that del Pozo would be placed on a medical leave of absence, without detailing the background information. Before telling Weinberger about the social media account, del Pozo had denied being behind the account to a Seven Days reporter on July 23.

After six weeks on leave for mental health treatment, del Pozo returned to the job in September, and received a formal verbal reprimand from the mayor for the Twitter account.

On Dec. 9, Winkleman published a detailed post on his website with evidence indicating that del Pozo was behind the @WinkleWatchers account. Seven Days again began asking the department about it, and later in the week del Pozo admitted responsibility, resigning a few days after that.

"It resulted in a lapse of judgment where I made a mistake that I regret," del Pozo told the outlet. "I responded to negativity with negativity in a way that doesn't become a chief of police."

He posted his resignation letter on Twitter:

(H/T Washington Examiner)

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