Is this a case of a disgruntled employee getting thrown out on his ass, or a question of employers infringing on free speech?
One Lexington cop sympathized with the George Floyd protests in May, which is very much his constitutional right. But he leaked police tactics to BLM protesters in advance of the demonstration, which got him fired.
In May, before entire cities began to burn, there was broad agreement across the political spectrum that the known circumstances of George Floyd’s death were, on their face, horrifying. But does a cop have a protected free speech right to divulge police tactics to protesters? Or is that privileged information that he cannot lawfully share?
Jervis Middleton, a black officer with the Lexington Police Department, was accused of contacting activist Sarah Williams in May of last year and giving her details about tactics police intended to use in response to protests over the death of George Floyd.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council unanimously voted to fire Middleton on Friday after determining that his actions put fellow officers in jeopardy.
But Middleton’s attorney, Keith Sparks, argued that the information he provided to Williams was covered by free speech and that he didn’t put anyone at risk, saying: ‘The only harm is imagined harm.’
Sparks also claimed that Middleton had been frustrated because his complaints about racism within the LPD had gone unaddressed. —DailyMail
He went so far as to name which officers would be working the protests. It was after the arrest of Sara Williams in the summer that her contact with Officer Middleton became known.
An LPD memorandum obtained by LEX18 described how Middleton allegedly contacted Williams via text and Facebook Messenger to give her ‘official Lexington Police Department law enforcement sensitive information via screen shots of text messages and emails that gave away information on tactics the agency was, or were, planning to use’ during protests.
…In another set of messages, Middleton wrote: ‘Tell them, Middleton said FTP!’ FTP stands for ‘f**k the police’.
Middleton allegedly sent that message while Williams was at a protest shouting at responding officers through a megaphone. —DailyMail
When an active cop says ‘FTP’ to a cop-hating ‘community organizer’ leading a protest in a group founded by self-confessed Marxists and gives that same person details about personnel and tactics, you have to admit it raises some questions.
Were those questions enough to justify firing? Were his fellow officers endangered by these leaks?
Or was his lawyer right in claiming that this fell under ‘protected free speech’
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