Whether taxpayers will foot the bill for legal fees racked up in a case against Madison Police Department Police Chief Mike Koval is set to be decided by local officials in an upcoming meeting, after the city finance committee voted in favor of doing so Monday.
Between Sept. 6, 2016 through March 15, 2017 Koval spent $21,953 to hire a defense lawyer, after three separate complaints from community members were filed against him.
Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson—a teen fatally shot by an MPD officer in 2015—and Irwin’s friend, Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, made a case that Koval violated MPD standards of conduct in three separate incidents at a city council meeting last year.
The city’s Police and Fire Commission recently reached a decision that the chief would not be subject to disciplinary action for the charges filed against him, including calling Irwin a “raging lunatic,” making a threatening gesture toward his gun and for disruptive behavior during a council meeting. All charges were dismissed, although the PFC cited the remark to Irwin as misconduct and concluded Koval should face reprimand for it.
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, voted in the finance meeting against the city funding the legal fees.
“It strikes me that there was something that was just inappropriate in his actions that it doesn’t feel right to me to give him all the money,” Rummel said.
Brenda Konkel, a former Madison alder, also questioned the fairness of the city supporting Koval’s legal fees.
“If you were to reimburse the chief for his fees that sends a very strong message to the community that the chief can do whatever he wants, the rules don’t apply to him and there will be no consequences,” Konkel said.
The Common Council will vote in an upcoming meeting on whether to pay Koval’s costs using contingent reserves funds.