From: LA Times
By: Tina Dirmann, 6/15/2002
A Riverside police detective is demanding his job back, 14 months after being fired for having a sexual relationship with a woman whose alleged rape he was investigating.
Al Kennedy, a 26-year member of the department, was terminated April 16, 2001, after Chana Zucker filed a lawsuit against the department. The Riverside resident said Kennedy used his position to take advantage of her while looking into allegations she had been kidnapped, raped and tortured by an unknown assailant.
The city terminated Kennedy and settled Zucker’s lawsuit this winter for $25,000.
But an attorney for the detective said the firing was unfair–a politically motivated move to settle a lawsuit that never should have been filed. “They needed a defense to [Zucker’s] lawsuit,” said Ken Yuwiler, a Santa Monica attorney who will represent Kennedy at an arbitration hearing later this month. “And one of their defenses was, ‘Hey, we got rid of him.’ That was their chip if they went to trial.”
To bolster his point, Yuwiler said that when the relationship initially came to light, Kennedy’s supervisor recommended nothing more than a letter of reprimand. Newly appointed Chief Russell Leach, however, would not approve the reprimand, adding that the behavior was conduct unbecoming an officer.