After facing strong opposition from community members, City Council pushed a vote on a controversial resolution to reimburse Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval’s legal fees regarding a complaint to the Police and Fire Commission to their next meeting.
The resolution would reimburse Koval $21,953 for his legal fees regarding an August 2016 incident with Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson, and Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores.
An MPD officer shot and killed Robinson in a high-profile case in 2015. Irwin claims Koval called her a “raging lunatic” during the 2016 interaction.
Council members motioned to refer the resolution after deciding they wanted further clarification from the PFC on their ruling not to take disciplinary action against.
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City Attorney Michael May called that decision “confusing.”
Irwin spoke against the reimbursement resolution at the Tuesday meeting. She said she did not want the council to reimburse Koval for his legal fees because he chose to have one of the “best and most expensive” lawyers in the state.
Irwin questioned why the council would reimburse Koval for his legal fees, but not financially help her with her own legal fees.
“I’m coming again and again and again until this is resolved,” Irwin said. “Are you going to pay this every time I come up there and he loses? It’s not fair. It’s not fair to the little people.”
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Kilfoy-Flores also spoke in opposition to the resolution at the meeting. She said she does not understand why the city should pay for Koval’s legal fees since he was the one who broke the code of conduct.
Kilfoy-Flores said she is in favor of holding police officers like Koval more accountable.
“I would like to make this very clear that I am not anti-police,” Kilfoy-Flores said. “I am anti-brutality, I am anti-murder, I am anti-bullying and I am anti-abuse of power.”
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Ald. Amanda Hall, District 3, said it is worth it to put off the resolution if there is any way they might be able to get more information from the PFC, but said she doesn’t fully expect them to respond.
The council will also ask the PFC to clarify the issue by April 28.
“I look forward to us hopefully reconvening and doing the tough jobs we just got sworn in to do,” Hall said.
In addition to discussing Koval’s legal fees, the council passed a resolution that creates a new area at the top of State Street for vendors to sell their products and increases the types of products they can sell.
Council members decided to create the “Top of State Vending Overlay District” because it is close to many businesses and experiences a high amount of pedestrian traffic.
Vendors will now be able to sell things like farmers’ market foods and homemade arts and crafts at the top of State Street. The resolution will go into effect April 30.
The anticipated increase in license revenue to the city from this change will range between $1,000 and $5,000.