So, this is interesting...
A Black police officer in Lexington, Kentucky, was fired after he was accused of leaking information about fellow officers to Black Lives Matter protesters. After a nine-hour hearing, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council announced his firing Friday around 1 a.m.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re currently thinking up an assortment of reverse-Judas and the Black Messiah jokes, but, listen, this is serious, people. (I mean, it’s not super serious, because I don’t get involved in blue-on-blue crime, but it’s an interesting story nonetheless.)
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that now-former officer Jervis Middleton was fired after a recommendation from an internal police disciplinary board and from Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers who had accused Middleton of violating department policy by providing details about police officers working during protests to a BLM activist friend of his, Sarah Williams.
Already, this is shaping up to be the based-on-a-true-story Lifetime movie that you want to see despite knowing how bad it’s going to be. (So basically, all Lifetime movies.) We’re talking about a cop drama that centers around an illicit friendship between an officer sworn to uphold the law and a Black Lives Matter protest leader who, well, probably just wants to make sure officers sworn to uphold the law are held accountable for police brutality. (Scandalous, right?)
From the Herald-Leader:
Keith Horn, a lawyer for the city, said during opening arguments that Middleton told Williams what to say to some officers during protests in May and June and sent her some staffing information, including that police were looking for officers to work overtime to work the protests.
At first, Middleton denied he had given the information to Williams and only admitted it after being shown text and other messages from Williams’ phone, which police obtained through a search warrant, Horn said.
Police testified Thursday that Middleton shared a screenshot of a notice that the department’s emergency response unit, or its tactical or SWAT team, would be called out to help with the protest. The other information shared with Williams was an email asking if officers wanted to work the protests.
Listen: I’m no expert on the inner workings of law enforcement, but this sounds like some Great Value reverse-COINTELPRO shit where minimal and generally harmless information was shared. Why are Lexington police officials so worried about protesters being warned beforehand that a SWAT team will be working protests? It’s not like they’re not going to stand out being dressed in tactical gear looking like extras from episode four of Wanda Vision.
“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,” Horn said. (I guess In Lexington, Ky., BLM protests are the equivalent of the Battle of Gettysburg.)
Weathers explained that the “allegations against Officer Middleton [are] that he provided information that could be used to insult, intimidate and harass our officers while they were working the protests.” So, he’s worried that an army of cops dressed like Universal Soldier cosplayers are going to have their feelings hurt by anti-racism protesters armed with insider material they can use to roast their asses—got it.
Anyway, during the hearing, Middleton argued that none of the information he gave Williams would put police officers in danger and that he was exercising free speech. He also claimed that he repeatedly reported suffering racial taunting and discrimination from his fellow officers including circulated memes “which made it appear that Middleton was a threat to white women,” the Herald-Leader reports. Officers admitted during the hearing that the memes were shared, but said they were circulated only after Middleton shared an inappropriate meme about another officer. (It’s worth pointing out that these are the same high-school-drama-ass cops who are worried about being insulted by protesters.)
To make a long story less long, Middleton and his wife, Kristi Middleton, both testified about several instances of racial harassment he claimed to have suffered at the hands of fellow officers. Police officials say the allegations went largely unreported while the Middletons claim they were reported but were largely brushed off.
It was also brought up that Middleton had previously been accused of using police computers to get information on a woman he had been in a sexual relationship with who had accused him of stalking her after the relationship ended. He was acquitted of those charges, but he still faced disciplinary action over the incident having been accused of asking officers to run the plates of cars seen at the woman’s home. In the end, he was demoted over the allegations.
Man, somebody get Shonda Rimes on the phone because I have a TV series pitch she might just be interested in.