Police officer fired for giving information to protesters

A Kentucky police officer has been fired for giving information about the police agency he worked for to Black Lives Matter protesters.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council announced its unanimous decision early Friday after a nine-hour hearing and more than two hours of deliberations, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

Jervis Middleton, who is Black, argued that he shouldn’t be terminated from the Lexington Police Department because the information he provided was covered by free speech and did not jeopardize the safety of officers. His lawyers said he faced racial discrimination at the agency and was frustrated because his concerns about racism hadn’t been addressed.

The council’s decision followed the recommendation of Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, who is also Black, and an internal police disciplinary board.

Middleton was accused of misconduct, sharing internal police information with Black Lives Matter protest leader Sarah Williams and being dishonest about his communication with her. The council dismissed the last charge, but found him guilty of the first two.

Weathers testified Middleton should be fired because he put his fellow officers in jeopardy during summer protests and because he had been demoted recently due to an unrelated complaint.

“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. After this, I just can’t see him coming back,” Weathers said.

He said race didn’t factor into the recommendation to dismiss Middleton.

Lawyers for Middleton argued that the information he provided did not give protesters any insight into police tactics and did not compromise any operations.

Some care centers to relax virus limitations

Kentucky is relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions at some of its long-term care facilities.

Indoor visitation will resume at non-Medicare-certified facilities that have been through the COVID-19 vaccination process, Gov. Andy Beshear said. Group activities, communal dining and visitations among vaccinated residents will resume, he said.

Included in the updated protocols are assisted living facilities, personal care homes, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and independent living centers, Beshear said.

“It’s been a long journey and it’s exciting to be able to relax some restrictions,” said state Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspector general Adam Mather.

People will be expected to schedule their visits with the facility, and up to two visitors from the same household can visit a resident at one time, state officials said.

Visitors will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the visit. The new protocols will take effect Saturday.

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