Opening statements to begin Wednesday in LMPD whistleblower lawsuit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Opening statements will begin Wednesday in the trail for a Louisville Metro Police officer who is suing the department.
Lt. Jimmy Harper claims he was demoted from the rank of major and reassigned in May 2017 because he expressed concern about LMPD's management. He also claims he was demoted for giving information to Metro Council members about the Explorer sex abuse scandal.
Mayor Greg Fischer, Chief Steve Conrad and other officers are expected to testify during the trial.
In the whistleblower lawsuit, Harper claims he told Mayor Fischer that dissolving a plainclothes crime-fighting unit known as the FLEX Platoon in 2016 was a “wrong choice and that it would have serious negative effects in the community, especially in the West-End," thereby "raising his concerns of Chief Conrad's mismanagement of LMPD." Harper said, according to the suit, that Fischer had asked him for his opinion on the issue.
A few days later, Conrad told Harper not to speak to Fischer about “LMPD policy or strategy,” according to the lawsuit.
Harper also provided Councilman David James, a former LMPD officer, information about an Oct. 17, 2016, email concerning Victory Park gang members, according to the suit.
The suit claims Harper was then “immediately summoned” to Conrad’s office for giving James the information. Conrad told Harper he was giving James and other council members “too much information about crimes,” according to the suit.
The lawsuit includes a performance evaluation finding Harper had violated police rules by going outside the chain of command to address departmental issues. Conrad, according to the evaluation, had already counseled Harper about how criticism of the department could cause a negative impact.
Harper was removed from his high-ranking position as part of a department-wide reorganization by Chief Conrad. But Harper's lawyer, Thomas Clay, said the demotion from commander of the 2nd Division to command of River Patrol meant a $15,000 to $20,000 pay cut.
The lawsuit claims Harper made “good faith reports” of waste, fraud, abuse of authority and dangers to the city to the council, Fischer and superior officers. In response, he was given a written counseling statement and demoted, court documents claim.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
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