Lexington police officer fired for sharing information with Black Lives Matter protestors
Published 12:25 pm Friday, February 19, 2021
A Lexington police officer accused of leaking information about police officers to Black Lives Matter protesters has been fired.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council fired officer Jervis Middleton after they heard multiple hours of testimony from investigators who say Middleton shared private police emails, texts, and call sheets with Sarah Williams, a protest organizer during the Summer of 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and an internal police disciplinary committee recommended Jervis Middleton be fired for among other things, allegedly sharing information about specific officers who were working the marches.
Investigators say they were able to discover Middleton’s actions after police obtained a search warrant for Sarah Williams’ cell phone and Facebook account after she was arrested in connection with the protests.
Middleton defended himself saying the information he provided did not jeopardize the safety of officers and was free speech. His defense was that he spoke with Williams not in his capacity as an officer, but as a private citizen.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council announced its decision shortly after 1 a.m. after a nine-hour police hearing and more than two hours of closed-door deliberations. Under the state’s open meetings law, the council is allowed to deliberate on personnel matters in closed session.
The council found Middleton guilty on two counts of violating police policies and not guilty on one countof violating police policies.