FOP president defends demoted officer Jimmy Harper amidst trial

FOP president defends demoted officer Jimmy Harper amidst trial
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad took the stand on Wednesday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad took the stand on Wednesday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Fraternal Order of Police President Nicolai Jilek has come to the defense of a former Louisville Metro Police officer, with strong words for LMPD Chief Steve Conrad.

Testimony began Wednesday in the case of Jimmy Harper, the LMPD officer who calls himself a whistleblower. The commander turned lieutenant is suing the city, claiming he was demoted in retaliation for criticizing LMPD Chief Conrad and talking about it with other city officials.

During testimony, Conrad said he didn't think Harper was doing "all that good of a job" before he dismantled the Flex Platoon, but after his work got even worse. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer admitted during testimony that he was approached by Harper one day after the Flex Platoon was dismantled. During that conversation, Harper criticized the chief, according to Fischer. Conrad admitted the conversation Harper had with Fischer was a "material factor in (his) decision to demote Major Harper."

In light of the ongoing controversy, Jilek took to Facebook to defend Harper on Wednesday.

"In my 16 years as a police officer no one has stood out more to me as a leader in this profession than Jimmy Harper.   He long ago earned my trust and respect as a commanding officer who leads from the front and never asks more of you than he asks of himself. He demonstrates the integrity, honor and humble dignity of of true cop and I am proud to stand with him and support him in his current fight.  The way he and everything he represents has been disrespected by our Chief as represented in today's testimony is appalling.  Jimmy Harper has devoted his life to the people he serves (the people of this city) and the men and women who work for him.  Instead of allowing him to make a real difference as a leader in this department, he has been stifled, ostracized, discredited, and marginalized because he wasn't "on the team."

His trial continues tomorrow and will run through the rest of the week in 901 from approx. 10:00 to 6:00.   It is open to the public and I hope to see more of you there to bear witness to what is said under oath by those involved."

Testimony continued on Thursday. This story will be updated.

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.