Metro Council president testifies that LMPD chief surrounds himself with 'yes' men

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In day three of testimony in the whistleblower lawsuit trial, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad's integrity was under attack by Metro Council president David James.

The lawsuit was filed by Lt. Jimmy Harper last year, in which he claims he was demoted after he told Conrad that he had concerns about the chief’s leadership and also informed some Metro Council members about those issues.

"Chief Conrad is a person that doesn't really like people who say no to him," James said. "He wants all the people to be yes people, and if you stand up to him or tell him that he has a bad idea or that his idea is going to cause a problem, he doesn't really like it. So he surrounds himself with people who say yes all the time."

Earlier this week, Conrad testified that Harper was demoted for not being a team player and insubordination. He said Harper was “an administrative nightmare,” often insubordinate and went outside of the chain of command. Those claims were backed on Thursday by former LMPD Lt. Col Kim Kraeszig.

“When he went to the Second Division, I just felt like something changed with Maj. Harper, and one of the things was his attitude,” Kraeszig said.

One by one during Friday's testimony, high-ranking Louisville Metro Police officers testified Friday about Lt. Jimmy Harper, former commander who was demoted.

In a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Lt. Jimmy Harper last year, Harper claims he was demoted after he told Chief Steve Conrad that he had concerns about the chief’s leadership and also informed some Metro Council members about those issues.

Attorney Thomas Clay: "What did major Harper routinely do to lead the troops?

Lt. Shawn Hensler: "He would respond to almost every scene of significance, and he would also respond to just back officers up."

Lt. Kelly Lee: "He's a boots-on-the-ground kind of guy, and that's why his officers love him. His COs love him so much, and his community loves him so much because he's such a real person. He connects with people on that level that is so unusual, and they just love him so much. So much ... I would literally follow that man into hell because I believe in him so much."

At one point, Harper wiped away tears as Lee recounted the night before he was demoted.

"We were driving the booking van. We were picking up prisoners for officers in the Second, Fourth and First Division. because that's what he liked to do," Lee said.

"Have you ever heard of a major driving a booking van?" Clay asked

"No, but we did it," Lee replied. He wanted to get out there and do something for the fellas and show them that he's one of them ... And he is."

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