Mayor Fischer testifies on Explorer Case, demotion of former major

Mayor Fischer testifies on Explorer Case, demotion of former major

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Mayor Greg Fischer was questioned Monday morning in regards to a whistleblower case filed by Louisville Metro Police Department Lieutenant Jimmy Harper.

Harper was demoted earlier this year from the rank of Major to Lieutenant.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad made the announcement during a press conference in which other officers were moved to different divisions.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Former police major sues LMPD after being demoted to lieutenant, reassigned

Harper's attorney, Thomas Clay, believes Harper was demoted after speaking with Fischer about a reorganization of the department.

Monday morning, the Mayor was questioned about that conversation as well as is knowledge about the LMPD Explorer Program sex abuse allegations, WAVE 3 News investigative reporter Natalia Martinez learned.

ABOUT THE EXPLORER CASE

Fischer was questioned about LMPD's Explorer program sex abuse scandal during the two hour long deposition.

He was asked if he knew Harper was giving information about the Explorer Program to Councilman David James. That's something the Mayor denied having knowledge of.

During the deposition Clay told the Mayor about a conversation between James and the Mayor's Chief of Staff Ellen Hesen in which James told her they should contact an outside agency to investigate the sexual abuse allegations. Clay later states it was James who contacted the FBI to investigate the Explorer Program.

It was a tense moment when Fischer was grilled on his knowledge of the LMPD Explorer sex scandal.

Fischer became visibly irritated when he was asked what he knew about the internal investigation of former LMPD officer Kenneth Betts.

"And what were the allegations?" Clay asked. "Some type of behavioral misconduct. is that all you know?

"Yes," Fischer answered.

"Did it involve sexual activity?"

"Yes behaviorial misconduct," Fischer said.

"There are all types of behaviorial misconduct," Clay pressed. "I'm talking specifically about sexual misconduct."

"I'd like to see what the documents say but I believe that was in there," Fischer said.

The Mayor stated he did not know it was Conrad who signed the documents ending the initial investigation into Kenneth Betts, one of the officers now indicted on the sexual abuse charges.

"Do you have any information from any source that causes you to believe that Chief Conrad might be implicated in this explorer investigation?" Clay asked.

"No," the Mayor responded.

"Do you have any information from any source that former Major Flaherty might be implicated in this investigation?" Clay asked.

"I don't know that," Fischer said.

Fischer stated he had not been briefed on the status of the FBI investigation or that of a private investigator hired by the city. He went on to say he will let the "chips fall where they land," in regards to those who may be involved in the sex abuse scandal.

ABOUT HARPER

Harper was demoted earlier this year from the rank of Major to Lieutenant.

During the deposition Fischer acknowledged a private conversation he had with Harper in which Harper shared his opinion about Conrad's reorganization of the department. He was asked if he considered the comments made by Harper to be defamatory, obscene or reckless - the terminology listed as not protected in the whistleblower law. The Mayor said no. Fischer did point out the difference between stating the truth and stating opinion.

After that conversation, Clay stated Harper received a counseling statement.

During the deposition Clay handed the Mayor the document demoting Harper. The only reason given for the demotion was,"reorganization."

"Did you know this was going to happen before this happened, sir?" Clay asked Fischer.

"I would be aware that he's doing a reorganization, yes," Fischer answered.

"Did you know that Major Harper was going to be given the option of wither being demoted or retiring?" Clay asked.

"Yes," Fischer said.

At another point in the deposition, Clay asked, "Do you believe Major Harper was demoted because of a reorganization? Or do believe he was demoted because he wasn't on board with Chief Conrad's policies?"

"I don't know," Fischer answered.

During the deposition Fischer denied having told council members that there was something in Harper's file that would justify his demotion.

Copyright 2017 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.