Lexington Police Officer Jervis Middleton was fired this past week for sharing information with Black Lives Matter activists about police activities during protests last May. Middleton's conduct was discovered after the arrest of local Black Lives Matter leader Sarah Williams. When officers served search warrants on her phone they discovered text messages and Facebook messages between the two. In response to his treachery, the LPD closed ranks and decided to treat Middleton like a black man instead of a blue man, but did they start closing ranks on him long before?
In his messages with Williams, Middleton allegedly shared sensitive information about law enforcement including the names of fellow officers and LPD activities in response to Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd. Middleton's lawyers defended their client on the grounds that his comments to Williams were free speech and that he never jeopardized the safety of fellow officers. They said that Middleton was upset about systemic racism within the LPD and was just venting to Williams. Fellow officers testified that Williams used information given to her by Middleton to target them during protests by calling them out by name with a megaphone, but beyond that no evidence of any other harms were given.
This was not the first time that Middleton has been accused of misusing his position as a police officer for personal reasons. In 2019 he was accused of using police resources to stalk a woman that he was in an extramarital relationship with. He was criminally charged, but found not guilty by a jury. Despite his acquittal the LPD still demoted him from the rank of sergeant to that of an officer as part of a civil settlement with the victim in that case (https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article236627528.html). We can't help but think that might have left a bitter taste in his mouth and probably had more to do with him wanting to help BLM than anything else. It seems like Middleton never had a problem with the LPD until he was caught cheating on his wife. His status as a black man and the protests following the murder of George Floyd could have been seen by Middleton as nothing more than an opportunity to go out with a bang while making connections in the community. Going out like this gives him the opportunity to argue that he was a victim of systemic racism rather than just a another bitter dirty cop.
Despite our doubts as to the motives of Middleton, we share the believe that systemic racism is a problem within law enforcement agencies like the LPD. We just wish that people like Middleton would not wait to speak out until after working with that system is no longer convenient for them personally.
UPDATE: We just acquired a 14 page document from a September disciplinary hearing. We are uploading it as a PDF with this article. The document contains several of the text exchanges between Middleton and Williams. Those texts sound more like a disgruntled employee trying to get back at his co-workers than a Woke activist.