Testimony ends in Harper whistleblower trial
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A jury will begin deliberating this afternoon in the Jimmy Harper whistleblower case.
Testimony wrapped up at 11 a.m. Wednesday after Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad stepped off the stand.
Tuesday, the motion asking for a direct verdict was denied by the judge.
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Wednesday morning Conrad told jurors he had been demoted in 1999 from Major to the rank of Captain. That was at the command of Chief Eugene Sherrard, Conrad said. Sherrard was the same chief who ordered an internal investigation into Conrad for having been untruthful to investigators during a criminal investigation into officers working under his command. Conrad would later be suspended for being untruthful, but that suspension was overturned after an appeal which noted too much time had gone by and a previous chief had decided not to punish Conrad.
Wednesday, Conrad denied the investigation was what led to his demotion. He stated Chief Sherrard told him he wanted to go in a different direction.
Tuesday brought testimony from Councilwoman Jessica Green who described Harper as an excellent officer who inspires others. Assistant Chief Michael Sullivan was also called to the stand Tuesday as a witness for the city. However, his testimony appeared to be more favorable to Harper.
Sullivan admitted he too would have answered Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer honestly if Fischer would have asked him about the department's decisions. Part of the reason Harper believes he was demoted was because Conrad got upset after he learned Harper had spoken to Fischer about the dismantlement of the Flex Platoons. Harper contends Fischer directly asked him his opinion. Conrad gave Harper a "counseling" statement after that conversation.
Sullivan also admitted it was Conrad who was at fault for a form which incorrectly identified the reason for the demotion as a "reorganization."
Attorney Thomas Clay: "If the mayor had asked you similar questions would you have told him the truth?"
Clay: "Would you expect Major Harper to tell him the truth under similar circumstances?"
Sullivan also stated Harper asked to be placed in the River Patrol, something Harper denies. The form was brought into evidence by Harper's attorney. He said it's proof Conrad made the call to place Harper there. Sullivan seemed to agree, it was ultimately the Chief's decision.
"I testified earlier the chief's name is on the form," Sullivan said. "His signature is on the form. He would be responsible for that form."
Harper is asking for $6.6 million in damages. He believes Conrad destroyed his career.
This story will be updated.
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