A police officer in Kentucky was fired Friday over allegations that he gave a Black Lives Matter leader information about other officers working protests that could be used to “insult, intimidate and harass.”
Lexingtion police Officer Jervis Middleton was “relieved of his duties” following a unanimous vote by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council after a nine-hour hearing and two hours of closed deliberations.
“Officer Middleton’s conduct during a highly stressful and potentially vulnerable time during the history of our community — the most significant policing event in our community in 20 years — demonstrates that he should no longer be a police officer,” said Keith Horn, a lawyer for the city of Lexington.
BREAKING REPORT: Lexington, Kentucky police officer Jervis Middleton has been FIRED FOR LEAKING INSIDE INFORMATION about police to Black Lives Matter protest leader Sarah Williams…
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) February 21, 2021
Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and an internal police disciplinary board had recommended Middleton’s firing over several policy violations for sharing department information and for allegedly lying about it.
He had also been demoted recently for a separate complaint related to accusations he used department resources to look up information about a woman he had once been romantically involved with.
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Middleton challenged the allegations necessitating the hearing.
The fired officer initially denied sharing information with BLM leader Sarah Williams, a friend, but admitted it when he was shown text messages obtained through a search warrant, city lawyer Horn said.
Middleton’s lawyers argued he shouldn’t be fired because in their view the information he shared with Williams didn’t jeopardize officers’ safety and it should be considered free speech.
Middleton, who is Black, also claimed he had been racially discriminated against at the department by other officers but the department had not investigated his claims, WLKY-TV of Louisville reported.