*A Black police officer in Kentucky has been fired for allegedly providing a Black Lives Matter organizer with information about other officers working last summer’s protests.
Lexington police Officer Jervis Middleton was relieved of his duties on Friday, following several policy violations which included sharing department information and allegedly lying about it. He had also been demoted recently for using department resources to look up information about a woman he was once romantically involved with, per Fox News.
“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,” said Keith Horn, a lawyer for the city of Lexington.
“I felt like the discipline he received last time should have been a message to him and allow him to come back and become the officer that I know he can be,” Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said. “After this, I just can’t see him coming back. To me, it was a violation of trust and a violation of the position of a police officer. He was supposed to protect the public, but he should also protect his fellow officers.”
Middleton initially denied sharing information with BLM leader Sarah Williams, which could have been used to “insult, intimidate and harass.” When shown text messages obtained through a search warrant, he confessed to his wrongdoing. His lawyers believe termination was a bit much considering the information he shared didn’t jeopardize officers’ safety, according to the report.
The ACLU criticized the firing, saying that “Clear channels of communication and shared expectations make tense situations safer for police, protesters, and bystanders.”
“While Officer Middleton’s actions may warrant some level of disciplinary action, it is particularly concerning he was more swiftly investigated and harshly punished for sharing non-critical information than officers who use excessive force against protesters or create the culture of racism and hostility Middleton reported to no avail,” ACLU said in a statement.