A Lexington police sergeant is facing charges of misconduct after an internal-affairs review concluded that officers gave money found in a fugitive's possession to the sergeant's family.
Sgt. Earl Rayford is scheduled to go before the city council on April 26 for a four-hour disciplinary hearing on the charges, which could lead to his dismissal.
Rayford appeared in front of the council Tuesday with his lawyer, William Jacobs, who said that Rayford did nothing wrong and that the charges should be dropped.
The disciplinary action stemmed from events surrounding the Aug. 10, 2010, arrest of former Kentucky State University basketball player Delvegio Christopher Lax.
Lax, 25, was dating Rayford's stepdaughter, Jacobs said. Rayford learned of a fugitive warrant out for Lax, and he called police dispatchers and asked them to send officers to arrest him, he said.
Rayford warned the officers that Lax might be armed and probably had drugs on him, Jacobs said.
Two officers, identified during the meeting only as Jackson and Hoskins, arrested Lax on the outstanding warrant. A search showed that he had one gram of crack cocaine in his pocket and a .357 Smith and Wesson handgun in his waistband, according to court documents. Lax also had about $450, which, according to Jacobs, police viewed as evidence that Lax was selling drugs.
However, the money apparently belonged to Rayford's stepdaughter.
"It was almost exactly to the penny what she had taken out" of the bank earlier that day, Jacobs said.
When Rayford learned from his wife that the money wasn't Lax's, he apparently called the officers and requested that they return it.
As a result, officers could not charge Lax with drug trafficking. He was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed deadly weapon, a misdemeanor.
Lax pleaded guilty to those charges on Dec. 23. He was sentenced to three years probation after serving 83 days in jail, according to court records.
Jacobs said he did not see any wrongdoing on Rayford's part.
"If Sgt. Rayford had sat at home and done nothing — if he'd learned of who this fellow was and learned there was warrants on this fellow and done nothing — we ought to be in here charging him with something," Jacobs said.
City attorney Keith Horn spoke briefly after Jacobs presented his motion to the council. Horn called Jacobs' presentation "confusing" and criticized him for going into the facts of the case.
The formal charges against Rayford would not be made public until the city council had reached a decision regarding his discipline, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said.
The council ultimately ruled to proceed with the April 26 disciplinary hearing. District 7 Councilwoman KC Crosbie said the council had not received a copy of the charges until Tuesday and hadn't had enough information to allow council members to make a motion that they should be dropped.
"How can we vote to dismiss or to not dismiss?" Crosbie asked. "We have very little information to make that decision on."