FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge:
"The ACLU of Kentucky is concerned Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council fired Officer Jervis Middleton amidst longstanding calls for a radical transformation of policing and transparent relationships with the public. While Officer Middleton’s actions may warrant some level of disciplinary action, it is particularly concerning he was more swiftly investigated and harshly punished for sharing non-critical information than officers who use excessive force against protesters or create the culture of racism and hostility Middleton reported to no avail.
Dialogue between law enforcement and protesters is a productive practice that can decrease conflict and advance the goals of both protesters and police. Simply put, protest organizers should know whether and under what circumstances SWAT units (or other militarized police) will be deployed. Clear channels of communication and shared expectations make tense situations safer for police, protesters, and bystanders. Why does LFUCG feel that this information is so dangerous if shared?
The status quo of policing must change in Kentucky and throughout the nation. As communities begin to radically reimagine the role of police in public safety, we must examine the ways existing policies and practices perpetuate systemic racism. Community policing cannot progress without meaningful transformation, and creating and ignoring hostile work environments for Black police officers and closing dialogue with the public is the opposite of progress.”