Judge denies request to reinstate rank of LMPD lieutenant who sued city
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has denied Louisville Metro Police Lieutenant Jimmy Harper’s request to be reinstated to his position as major, in part because of the hostility between Harper and Chief Steve Conrad.
A jury trial earlier this month ended with Harper winning a $300,000 verdict. He sued claiming he was demoted from the rank of major in retaliation for speaking out to Mayor Greg Fischer about how the department was being managed by Conrad.
Harper's lawyer, Thomas Clay, asked Judge Angela Bisig to also force the department to reinstate Harper's rank as major.
In her ruling Wednesday, Bisig said she found Harper's request "understandable" as the "jury undeniably found that Chief Conrad, in part, unlawfully demoted Harper based upon his protected conversation with the mayor."
However, the judge concluded that reinstating Harper would not be good for the department and the public's best interest.
In an affidavit, Conrad has said reinstating Harper would cause someone else to be demoted. And Conrad said there would be "hostility" between him and Harper and other commanders.
"It is evident from the proof presented at trial that the working relationship between Harper and Chief Conrad is at best tense, and likely irretrievably broken," Bisig wrote.
This would "negatively impact the ability of the command staff to work together and effectively carry out the department's mission to protect and serve the people of Louisville," according to the order.
The judge also found that Harper had been compensated by the jury and restoring his rank would result in receiving wages "that he has already recovered."
In an interview, Clay said he understood the judge's "justification" for her ruling.
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