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Council votes to fire Lexington officer accused of sharing information with protesters

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 2:35 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council has voted to fire a police officer accused of sharing sensitive information with Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.

Officer Jervis Middleton was accused of giving protest organizers information about specific officers.

The council found Middleton guilty on two of three counts of violating operational rules and resolved to terminate him.

Middleton’s lawyer argued that his client was exercising free speech by speaking up about racism within the department.

Protest organizer Sarah Williams testified at an hours-long hearing that other officers used racial slurs against Middleton, who is Black.

Williams said she believes firing Middleton will have a chilling effect on other Black officers who may want to address systemic problems within the department.

Speaking on behalf of Lexington police chief Lawrence Weathers, attorney Keith Horn said Middleton’s actions inflamed tensions between police and protesters, instead of deescalating “the most significant policing event in Lexington in 20 years.”

The council debated the evidence for more than two hours and ultimately reached a conclusion just before 1 a.m.

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