Former LMPD major files whistleblower lawsuit against department

Jimmy Harper | WLKY

By WLKY News

A former Louisville Metro Police Department major has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the department.

Jimmy Harper was demoted last month as part of the chief’s restructuring plan. Harper has been with the Louisville police force since 1990 and has served as major of several divisions of the department.

In the suit, Harper claimed he was demoted for his remarks to the mayor and council members about the chief’s management of the department.

LMPD typically does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the suit, Harper was asked by Mayor Greg Fischer about his opinion on the dissolution of the department’s FLEX unit last September. Harper told Fischer that he thought dissolving the unit was a bad idea and would negatively affect the community, the suit says.

In the suit, Harper claims LMPD Chief Steve Conrad called him into his office and told him that he should not be discussing LMPD policy or strategy with the mayor.

The suit claims a similar reaction from Conrad after Harper provided information to Councilman David James, D-6, about Victory Park gang members in October.

In December and January, Harper claimed the department’s use of $1.2 million of government surplus used for Violent Crime Reduction was spent without proper planning. In the suit, Harper said he informed Louisville Metro Council members that the money was being “wasted and mismanaged, because of a lack of strategy and because money appeared to have been spent on items other than overtime for officers.”

Harper also consistently provided crime data to Metro Council members for an accurate perspective of actual crimes in Louisville since April 2016, according to the lawsuit.

The chief allegedly told Harper he could either retire immediately or be demoted to lieutenant. Harper told the chief that instead of accepting a forced retirement, he would take the alternative.

According to the suit, Harper was reassigned to the River Patrol, the only lieutenant ever assigned as commander of the River Patrol.

Harper’s lawsuit claims the demotion and transfer to River Patrol were retaliation for his reports and disclosures to the mayor and Metro Council.

Harper asks for general and compensatory damages for the loss of income, embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish. He also asks for injunctive relief and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other expenses.