A Black police officer with the Lexington Police Department was terminated on Friday (February 19) for giving a Black Lives Matter protester information in May last year.
The internal review board reached its unanimous decision following a hearing in which the accused officer, Jervis Middleton argued the information he shared didn’t put his fellow officers in danger and was protected under the First Amendment.
According to reports, Middleton communicated with protest organizer Sarah Williams before a protest in May 2020, following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Williams was arrested during the demonstration and a subsequent investigation revealed text and Facebook messages in which Middleton disclosed details on what tactics police were using during the protests. Middleton was charged with misconduct, sharing internal police information, and being dishonest about having communicated with Williams.
After nine hours of deliberation, the board found Middleton guilty of the first two charges.
“The only harm is imagined harm,” Middleton’s attorney Keith Sparks said following the board’s decision.
Sparks says Middleton was frustrated by the department’s response to his claims of racism and discrimination he endured while on the job.
Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, who is also Black, recommended Middleton be terminated from the force, despite understanding the frustration Middleton expressed. “[T]hat did not justify what he did,” Weathers said according to WLKY.
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