Louisville mayor takes stand in whistleblower lawsuit against city and police
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer took the witness stand Wednesday to testify in a trial involving a whistleblower lawsuit against Louisville Metro government and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
The case was brought last year by demoted LMPD Lt. Jimmy Harper.
Harper said he was demoted from the rank of major because he expressed concerns about how LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was running the department. His lawyers say Conrad has been vindictive in dealing with Harper because of his role in a separate lawsuit several years ago.
"One man, sitting at that table right there, Chief Steve Conrad, has destroyed the careers of three police officers who did the right thing," attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Harper, said in court.
But the Jefferson County Attorney's office says Harper is just an angry cop who was upset with Conrad for taking away some of his power and has since conspired with city leaders to get the chief fired.
"He was so angry at the chief that he set about to undermine, if not sabotage the policy of the Louisville Metro Police Department as given to him by the chief and his staff," said Peter Ervin of the Jefferson County Attorney's Office.
Conrad said Harper was an administrative disaster while running LMPD's Second Division, but Harper's attorney pointed to his client's exemplary record running the department's Third Division, where he was before moving to the Second Division.
Conrad: "He was doing a great job in Third Division."
Clay: "Was he an administrative disaster then?"
Conrad: "No, sir, he was not."
Clay: "He turned into an administrative disaster when he took over the Second Division?"
Conrad: "Yes, sir, he did."
By Wednesday afternoon, Fischer had taken the stand and, during his testimony, gave a strong endorsement of Conrad.
“I believe in Chief Conrad," Fischer said. "He’s an honest man ... and he has crime moving in the right direction."
One of the things being harped on is a conversation Harper had with Fischer about a department reorganization back in 2016. Fischer was grilled about a conversation he had with Harper about a department reorganization. Harper claims Fischer asked for his opinion about Conrad's decision to disband LMPD's Flex Platoons.
Clay: "Did the decision to disband the flex platoons involve the management of the Louisville Metro Police Department?"
Fischer: "It would involve the management structure."
Clay: "Well, that's not my question. Did it involve the management of the police department, sir?"
Fischer: "How the department is being managed, yes."
This is an important point in the trial. Under the whistleblower act, someone can go outside the chain of command if that person is reporting mismanagement in the department.
Conrad has already undergone some aggressive questioning about a incident in the 1990s during which he admits he lied but later told his superiors about it.
Harper claims that Conrad has been vindictive and lied ever since that reorganization was announced.
Clay: "You keep a book on people, don't you?"
Conrad: "Absolutely no, sir."
Conrad is expected to take the stand again at 10 a.m. Thursday.
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