Koval will not be disciplined after PFC investigation

Koval will not be disciplined after PFC investigation

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval will not be disciplined after the investigation of three separate cases by the Madison Police and Fire Commission, but has been found to have violated the department’s standards of conduct.

The cases against Koval went before the commission in a pretrial hearing late last year related to alleged violations of the police department and city’s codes of conduct in connection to encounters with Koval at the June 7 Madison Common Council meeting.

“The PFC found that Chief Koval engaged in misconduct by violating applicable standards of conduct with respect to one incident, but also found that there was no misconduct with respect to the two other incidents,” the PFC said. “The PFC has only three options for discipline when it finds misconduct by a sworn officer: suspension, demotion or discharge. The PFC has determined that the chief’s misconduct in the one incident was not of such a nature to warrant any of those extraordinary disciplinary actions.”

“We have reached our decision based directly on the evidentiary facts as presented to us on the record and in our hearing, and reflecting our views of the credibility of the witnesses,” the decision said.

The complaints were brought by Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores and Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson, who described encounters with Koval at the Common Council meeting that include an allegation that Koval called Irwin a “raging lunatic.”

The PFC said the comments in were in violation of the standards of conduct, but didn’t rise to the level of suspending, demoting or discharging Koval.

“In our role of hiring the City of Madison Police Chief, we expected our police chief, as the leader of the department to serve as an example for the entire department, and always be beyond reproach no matter how frustrated or how harassed he or she may feel. Respondent failed in this instance.”

Irwin said the fact that he was found in violation is what counts.

“You were wrong. You didn’t do what you were supposed to do and part of my problem with that is as a leader you’re not following procedures. Then the people who are below you, what do you think they think?” Irwin said.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Koval said he previously apologized for making the comment.

“I do regret my momentary lapse of self-discipline in not speaking to a citizen in a respectful way,” Koval said in the statement. “I accepted responsibility for my actions then, and now, and an apology was already extended to the petitioner(s) last year.”

Koval was also accused of putting his hand toward his hip during the incident, suggesting a threatening gesture to his gun, but the PFC said it was not persuaded that Koval made such a gesture.

In the third case, Koval was accused of striking his desktop at the Common Council meeting when Irwin went past her time while speaking to the council. The PFC said it found no misconduct in that incident.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he doesn’t think the ruling will end the efforts of the Robinson family’s attorneys to continue to try the case despite the impartiality of the PFC.

“Keep in mind the PFC is an independent, citizen review board,” Soglin said. “Once they are selected, they are completely independent and free from any political influence either by the city council or the mayor. This is an independent review.”

The city will likely reimburse Koval for any legal fees, according to Koval’s attorney.

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