A Kentucky police officer has been let go over accusations that he gave a Black Lives Matter organizer department information about other officers working protests.
According to Fox News, Lexington police officer Jervis Middleton gave the organizer information that could be used to “insult, intimidate and harass.”
He was fired following a unanimous vote by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council. The council’s hearing lasted for nine hours and had 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, according to the Herald-Leader.
Chief Lawrence Weathers of the Lexington Police and an internal police disciplinary board called on Middleton’s firing, citing several policy violations of sharing department information and accusing Middleton of lying about it.
A separate complaint accused him of using department resources to access information on a woman he was romantically involved with; thus, he was demoted.
“I felt like the discipline he received last time should have been a message to him and allow him to come back and become the officer that I know he can be,” Weathers said. “After this, I just can’t see him coming back. To me, it was a violation of trust and a violation of the position of a police officer. He was supposed to protect the public, but he should also protect his fellow officers.”
Middleton challenged the allegations necessitating the hearing and denied sharing the information to Sarah Williams, the BLM leader. However, he admitted it when he was shown text messages obtained through a search warrant, city lawyer Horn said.
Middleton’s defense lawyers say that he shouldn’t be fired because the information he shared did not put the officers’ safety at risk and should be considered free speech.
Middleton, who is Black, feels he is being targeted and discriminated against because of his race, but the department hasn’t looked into his claims of racial discrimination, WLKY-TV of Louisville reported.