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Jury acquits Kentucky police officer accused of using excessive force

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

From The Lexington Herald Leader -

On Wednesday October 28, 2020 a federal jury acquitted the assistant police chief of a small Eastern Kentucky city on a charge of using excessive force during an arrest last year.

Kenny Ray Raleigh was indicted on one charge of allegedly violating the civil rights of Stephen Cody Simpson by punching and kicking him, and a second charge of obstructing justice for allegedly telling another officer to charge Simpson with resisting arrest to cover the assault.

Raleigh was assistant police chief of Cumberland, in Harlan County, at the time.

Jurors deliberated for several hours Wednesday before finding Raleigh not guilty on both charges.

The incident happened March 31, 2019 after other officers arrested Simpson on a burglary charge at a liquor store, according to court documents.

The indictment against Raleigh did not name the victim or other officers, but Simpson filed a lawsuit that included the names.

According to the lawsuit, two Cumberland officers arrested Simpson and had him lying face down on the ground outside the liquor store before Raleigh arrived.

When Raleigh got there and another officer told him it was Simpson being arrested, Raleigh said, “You’re a piece of ----,” and began punching Simpson in the head and kicking him in the side, the lawsuit alleged.

Raleigh, however, testified that Simpson threw his arm up as Raleigh stood over him. Raleigh took that as a threat and responded, said his attorney, David S. Hoskins.

Simpson denied doing that, but was not a believable witness, Hoskins said.

Simpson’s lawsuit, which is pending, says he suffered a head injury and problems that include nightmares, flashbacks and depression.

The complaint seeks unspecified damages.

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