UPDATE: Assistant chief not guilty in civil rights case, leaves court a cleared man

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Kenny Ray Raleigh

UPDATE POSTED OCT. 30, 2020

CUMBERLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – After a day of closing arguments and deliberations, a federal court jury this week found Cumberland Assistant Police Chief Kenny Raleigh not guilty of violating a suspect’s civil rights or trying to get another officer to change evidence and charges.

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After seven months of the federal indictment hanging over his head, the 43-year-old Raleigh walked out of the federal courthouse in London a free man and a burden lifted from his shoulders.

All the restrictions place on him by the courts following his indictment were discharged.

The trial had been delayed after three days by an issue beyond the court’s control on Oct. 9. It resumed Wednesday with the jury hearing closing arguments and instructions.

During the trial, the jury heard from the Stephen Cody Simpson, the man federal prosecutors claimed Raleigh had assaulted outside a Cumberland liquor store in March 2019, Raleigh and six other witnesses.

UPDATE POSTED OCT. 15, 2020

CUMBERLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’ll be two more weeks before Cumberland Assistant Police Chief Kenny Raleigh knows his fate.

Following three days of testimony and evidence last week, U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Bloom continued Kenny Ray Raleigh’s trial on federal civil right s violations because of “circumstances beyond the court’s control.” The continuance came after Bloom had denied Raleigh’s motion for a mistrial in the case, according to court records.

The court records don’t indicate what happened to prompt Raleigh’s attorney, David S, Hoskins, of Corbin, to request the mistrial or what led to the continuance.

Messages to Hoskins and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins, who is prosecuting the case, have not been returned.

The case had been scheduled for three days and Friday, two of the 14 jurors were dismissed as alternates, according to court records.

The jury was picked Wednesday and heard testimony into Friday. Some of the evidence included pictures of the injuries suffered by Steven Cody Simpson allegedly after being beaten by Raleigh as Simpson lay on the ground handcuffed outside 1603 Liquors on March 31, 2019.

Pictures and video of the scene and inside the store, before and after officers arrived, a time card for Cumberland Police Officer Zachary Smith, who Raleigh is accused of trying to coerce into making false statements, training records and other items are listed among the evidence for the trial.

In addition to violating Simpson’s civil rights, Raleigh is charged with the coercion.

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.

Wednesday, Bloom scheduled the trial to continue at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the federal courthouse in London. The jury will hear closing arguments and the instructions from the judge and then begin deliberating, according to court records.

Raleigh, who has been free on bond since June, was allowed to remain out of jail on the same conditions and restrictions imposed earlier.

UPDATE, POSTED NOON, SEPT. 15, 2020

CUMBERLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – The trial for Cumberland Assistant Police Chief Kenny Ray Raleigh on federal civil rights violations has been moved from Sept. 29 to Oct. 7.

The continuance was granted because Raleigh’s attorney, David Hoskins, of Corbin, is scheduled to be in five-day murder trial in Bell County Circuit Court for Jonathan Walker, who has been in jail more than three years awaiting his day in court.

U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom said the continuance was proper to give Hoskins additional time to prepare but didn’t violate speedy trial standards because the extension amounted to less than two weeks.

The case already was continued once from Aug. 25.

The trial is expected to take three days.

Cumberland is located in Harlan County.

If convicted on both counts, Raleigh, who has been on home confinement since he was released on bond in late June following his indictment on charges of unreasonable force by a police officer and obstruction of justice, faces up to 30 years in prison.

UPDATE, 5 p.m. Monday, June 29, 2020

CUMBERLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Cumberland Assistant Police Chief Kenny Raleigh, who was indicted last week on federal charges of assaulting a handcuffed suspect lying on he ground, was released from jail Monday pending his August trial.

Federal prosecutors originally sought to have Kenny Raleigh remain in jail but dropped that request during a brief hearing Monday.

Raleigh must remain on home detention and can only leave for limited reasons. He also can’t leave the court’s district. He can’t drink alcohol or have a weapon and must get both substance abuse and mental health treatment, according to an order signed by Magistrate Judge Hanly Ingram.

He also must surrender his passport and report regularly t federal probation officers.

His trial is set Aug. 25 and expected to take three days, according to court records.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 4 p.m. June 26 2020

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.

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 and 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 went 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  ).