Assistant police chief indicted for assaulting suspect; federal lawsuit pending as well


CUMBERLAND Ky. (WTVQ) – A southeast Kentucky assistant police chief faces up to 20 years in prison after being indicted on federal excessive force charges.

And a federal lawsuit related to the charges suggests he was off duty and may have been drinking when the alleged assault occurred on a handcuffed man while two on-duty officers watched.

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A federal grand jury indicted 42-year-old Kenny Ray Raleigh, of Partridge, Ky., on one count of unreasonable force by a police officer acting under color of law and one count of obstruction of justice (read the indictment raleigh indictment).

Raleigh is the assistant police chief in Cumberland, a town of about 2,200 east of Harlan along Highways 119 and 160 in Harlan County.

According to federal prosecutors, the first charge alleges that on March 31, 2019, while acting as an assistant chief, Raleigh “willfully deprived” a suspect of the right to be free by assaulting him several times in the head, resulting in injury.

The second count alleges Raleigh attempted to persuade a fellow officer not to provide information to federal investigators about the first incident.

Specifically, the indictment alleges Raleigh directed a fellow officer to charge the man with resisting arrest.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Raleigh’s next appearance before the United States District Court in London will be a jury trial scheduled for Aug. 25, 2020.

As charged in the indictment, the first count carries up to 10 years in prison and the second carries as much as 20 years, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, Raleigh remains in custody in the Laurel County Detention Center, pending a detention hearing June 29. He has hired attorney David Hoskins, according to court records.

Raleigh, who is the brother of the town’s mayor, ran into trouble in January when he was stopped for suspicion of DUI on Jan. 13. He passed field sobriety ad breathalyzer tests, according to WRIL radio and was not charged, but he was suspended for two weeks, the radio station reported at the time.

The indictment in the federal case doesn’t name the victim. But it does refer to the victim by the initials S.C.S.

A federal lawsuit brought against the city, Raleigh, the mayor, Police Chief Cody Williamson, and fellow officer Zack Smith alleges Raleigh beat Steven Cody Simpson as he lay on his stomach handcuffed outside 1603 Liquors last year.

That lawsuit was filed in federal court in March (read the lawsuit here raleigh lawsuit filed agaist him).

Among other things, Simpson alleges after he was arrested and handcuffed on the ground by Smith and officer Jonathan Franklin, he “was then approached by the Defendant, Kenny Ray Raleigh, who was off duty and in plain clothes and smelled of alcohol. Defendant Raleigh asked, “Who is this?” One
of the other officers in attendance replied, “It’s Cody Simpson”. Defendant, Kenny Ray Raleigh, said “You ‘re a piece of s…”. As the Plaintiff laid on his stomach on the ground, Assistant Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh proceeded to punch Plaintiff in the left side of his face repeatedly. Defendant Raleigh continued to strike Plaintiffs face several more times over his left eye, left cheek bone, left ear and the back of his head. While Assistant Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh was bent over striking the Plaintiff, Plaintiff could smell the alcohol on his breath. Plaintiff stated he yelled, “He’s drunk. Give him a breathalyzer”. Assistant Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh continued to strike Plaintiff in the head, kicking him in the left side of his ribs. Plaintiff was fearful of his life but offered no resistance despite the assault,” according to the lawsuit.
“Defendant Officer Zack Smith then grabbed the Plaintiff by the throat and slammed him against the ground.
“After several minutes of this abuse, Office Jonathan Franklin stepped in stating, “That’s enough. Now stop”. Officer Franklin then walked the Plaintiff down the street to the police station and while he was writing up the police report, the Plaintiff requested again, “Will somebody please give Officer Raleigh a breathalyzer?” Assistant Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh became more angry and
stated, “I dare you to say breathalyzer one more time”. Assistant Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh then told Officer Franklin, “You make sure and write him up for resisting arrest,” the lawsuit claims.

Simpson alleges when he was released from jail the next morning, he wen to a hospital for treatment.

The city has denied the allegations or responsibility, noting Raleigh was off-duty (read city’s response raleigh lawsuit response  ).