City appeals civil service board reinstatement of APD lieutenant

Lt. Kenny Rachal was reinstated by the board on Sept. 14 after being fired by the City in 2020
The City of Alexandria has filed an appeal in the case of Alexandria Police Department Lt. Kenny Rachal.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:36 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The City of Alexandria has filed an appeal in the case of Alexandria Police Department Lt. Kenny Rachal, who was reinstated by the city’s Fire and Police Civil Service Board on Sept. 14. The board’s decision to reinstate Rachal and give him a 60-day suspension was unanimous after a nearly eight-hour long hearing. It means that Rachal is owed back pay and benefits.

The board found while discipline was warranted, the penalty given by the City was excessive. In a recorded deposition from former Chief Jerrod King, who was serving as the chief at the time of Rachal’s termination, King only recommended a 14-day suspension for Rachal. However, King was overridden by Mayor Jeff Hall and his staff and decided to terminate him.

The City filed a “rule to show cause” on Oct. 14 in the the 9th Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish, and asked a judge to consider reversing the civil service board’s decision.

According to the City, an African-American sergeant complained to his supervisor, who was Lt. Rachal, about “perceived racial bias in the Alexandria Police Department.” The City said the following exchange happened:

  1. “[REDACTED] with this racial [REDACTED] and if I hear somebody say this again, I’m going to transfer them.”
  2. “You have a Black captain leading the division! What else do you want?”

The City wrote in its “rule to show cause” that Lt. Rachal is “an unsatisfactory employee with an extensive disciplinary history.” The City states that Lt. Rachal “has been disciplined more than seven (7) times during his career with the Alexandria Police Department.”

The City believes the board essentially made a legal error by reinstating Lt. Rachal and by giving him a 60-day suspension.

Matthew Nowlin, Rachal’s attorney, spoke with News Channel 5 and said he “cannot begin to guess” what legal error the City is referencing in the appeal. Nowlin added that the civil service board, by law, is able to modify discipline which he says was confirmed at the Alexandria City Council meeting on Oct. 18.

“For the city to prevail, it’s going to have to show among other things that there was no legal basis for the board’s action,” said Nowlin. “Given the evidence that was induced during a seven-plus hour trial that lasted beyond 1 a.m., I believe that there’s sufficient evidence to justify the board’s actions.”

We reached out to Brian Cespiva, the attorney who represents the Fire and Police Civil Service Board. He said he was not surprised by the appeal.

There is no date set yet for the “rule to show cause” hearing. The matter is scheduled to be heard before Judge David Williams.

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