LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA — A former Lafayette police officer was booked this week on criminal charges for allegedly falsifying a crash report so there was no mention of the unlicensed driver, allowing the man to avoid possible arrest.
Kencil Joseph, 28, of Opelousas, was booked Tuesday on charges of malfeasance in office and injuring public records and released after posting $1,000 bond.
Joseph was fired from the Police Department in May, Lafayette City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said.
The former officer has denied wrongdoing and has appealed to the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board for reinstatement.
The investigation focused on a crash report from a February traffic accident in Lafayette, according to an outline of the internal affairs investigation in the civil service appeal file.
The driver of one the vehicles complained to police that the crash report listed the female passenger of the other vehicle as the driver and made no mention of the man who was actually behind the wheel, even though Joseph had allegedly been told the two had switched seats before he arrived, according to the civil service records.
The man and woman later acknowledged to police that Joseph was allegedly aware of the switch and had allowed the female to be listed as the driver because the male had no driver’s license and would have been subject to arrest, according to the civil service records.
Joseph denied knowing about the switch or even speaking to any male at the scene of the accident, according to the civil service appeal records.
Joseph’s defense attorney, William Goode, maintained his client’s innocence but declined to discuss the details of the case.
“Kencil (Joseph) was a wonderful police officer and did not commit this crime,” Goode said.
Stanley declined comment on the internal investigation of Joseph but said that he had worked at the department from April 2008 and was terminated on May 18.
If convicted, Joseph faces up to five years in prison on the malfeasance charge and up to one year on the charge of injuring public records.