Kenny Rachal, former APD Lieutenant fired by city after verbal altercation, reinstated by Civil Service Board
Rachal is now owed two years’ worth of salary and benefits.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Former Alexandria Police Lieutenant Kenny Rachal, who was fired from the department back in June of 2020 for what the city called a “personnel matter,” has been reinstated after a nearly eight-hour hearing in front of the Fire and Police Civil Service Board. The board voted unanimously 5-0 for Rachal’s reinstation.
Rachal’s name has come up before in another case KALB has been following in the U.S. District Court for the Western District involving a police chase with Daquarious Brown back in March of 2019. In that case, Brown claimed excessive force was used during his arrest by Rachal and three other detectives.
However, as KALB learned in that lengthy hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 14, the case involving Brown had no impact on Rachal being terminated by the city in 2020.
KALB learned during the hearing that the “personnel matter” the city referred to was a verbal altercation between Rachal and a subordinate.
“Mr. Rachal could’ve certainly handled it in a different manner, but it certainly did not warrant a serious discipline of termination, which is usually reserved for the most egregious actions by an officer,” said Brian Cespiva, the General Counsel for the Alexandria Fire and Police Civil Service Board.
The board found while discipline was warranted, the penalty given by the city was excessive. In a recorded deposition testimony from former APD Chief Jerrod King, who was serving as the chief at the time of Rachal’s termination, he only recommended a 14-day suspension for Rachal following the altercation. However, King was overridden by Mayor Jeff Hall and his staff and rather than suspending Rachal, decided to terminate him.
“Typically when a chief makes a recommendation on discipline, the City of Alexandria in this case would have gone with the recommendation of the chief because the chief is on the ground and he knows the situation a little bit better than the administration,” said Cespiva. “In this instance, Chief King was overridden, which was sort of unusual in this type of a situation. Not only was he overridden, but he was overridden in a very big way.”
After voting to reinstate Rachal, the board then reduced his penalty to just a 60-day suspension without pay. Cespiva said Rachal is now owed two years’ worth of salary and benefits.
“The city is faced with having to pay him back, for essentially minus the 60 days that we suspended him for, pay him back pay, retirement benefits perhaps health benefits, so it’s going to be a bit expensive for the taxpayers,” said Cespiva.
News Channel 5 has received a comment from Rachal’s attorney, Matthew Nowlin, who reported that Rachal reported to APD for work Thursday morning.
Earlier this morning, the Alexandria Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board voted unanimously that while the City’s investigation of Lt. Kenneth Rachal was conducted in good faith, the discipline imposed was excessive. The Board reversed the City’s termination of Lt. Rachal, and modified the disciplinary action to a lesser, 60-day suspension which has been long-since been served. While we are still evaluating the impact of the Board’s ruling on seniority, the award of backpay, and other requested relief, Lt. Rachal reported to Chief Howard this morning to begin the return to work process and resume serving the City of Alexandria. Lt. Rachal would like to thank the Board for their time, consideration, and ruling, the numerous supporters who attended the appeal hearing last night, and those who expressed their continued support during his appeal.
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