A Lexington police officer accused of improperly passing along information to a Black Lives Matter protest organizer has been fired.
Following a lengthy debate, the city's Urban County Council agreed with a police disciplinary board that Jervis Middleton should be dismissed. The unanimous vote found Middleton guilty on two charges — sharing internal police information and overall misconduct.
City attorney Kevin Horn argued that, by passing along tips about police actions and names to demonstration leader Sarah Williams, Middleton was seeking not to de-escalate the situation but "inflame things." Middleton lawyer Keith Sparks described the harm caused by Middleton's actions as "imagined and created out of whole cloth to justify this fundamentally unfair result, which is to fire an officer who spoke out about racism."
Middleton says sharing the information was an act of free speech and it did not, as alleged by Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, jeopardize the safety of fellow officers.
Lexington leaders are currently working to implement recommendations by the Mayor's Commission for Racial Justice and Equality, formed in response to the racial justice protests that filled the streets in 2020.