LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – We are learning more details about the investigation that led to the dismissal of a Lexington police officer.
LEX 18 obtained a memorandum from the Lexington Police Department which summarizes the investigation of Constable Jervis Middleton.
The document describes the Facebook Messenger conversations between Middleton and Sarah Williams, described by LPD as “a well-known protester who organized the police accountability protest in Lexington Kentucky, from May 2020”. The protests in Lexington began after the death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis and coincided with the Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville.
Investigators say they were able to find out after police obtained a search warrant for Sarah Williams’ cell phone and Facebook account after her arrest in connection with the protests.
In the memorandum’s conclusion, the investigator wrote: “Constable Middleton also provided sensitive information to Lexington Police Department official law enforcement via screenshots of text messages and emails giving information on the tactics that the agency had or planned to use during the screening. the night protest. “
The summary of the investigation presents several exchanges of messages between Williams and Middleton.
In his interview with the department, Middleton said he and Williams were longtime friends and had mentored his son. He described conversations with investigators as “evacuated” and said there was an arrangement with Williams that “she was not to use the information he provided”.
Early Friday morning, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, as jurors, found Constable Jervis Middleton guilty of two counts of violating police policies. He was found not guilty on one count of violating police policies.
The hearing lasted from 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021, when council deliberated behind closed doors for about two hours. LEX 18 learned it was emotional deliberation. When council returned to open session at around 12:40 a.m. on Friday, February 19, 2021, a motion was brought to find Constable Middleton guilty of two counts and not guilty of one.
The board was deliberating whether Constable Middleton should be fired for allegedly violating several ministry policies by providing information to a leader of the summer 2020 protests in Lexington.
Council members heard several hours of testimony from investigators who said Constable Middleton shared private police emails, texts and call sheets with Williams.
Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and an internal police disciplinary committee recommended that Jervis Middleton be fired, among other things, for allegedly sharing information about specific officers participating in the marches.
Officer Middleton’s defense was that he had spoken with Williams not as an officer but as a private citizen, a friend of Williams and that he wanted to see a change in the police department and the community of Lexington. Middleton alleged that he had seen continued racial discrimination in the Lexington Police Department and had faced racist taunts himself.
This is not the first time Middleton has been disciplined. In 2019, he was acquitted by an official misconduct jury after being accused of using police resources to obtain information about a woman he had previously had a relationship with. Although his name was cleared in court, he ended up being demoted from officer sergeant to officer.
Read the official complaint below (some parts have been drafted):