UPDATE: Chaplain makes it official, retires from PD

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UPDATE, JULY 9, 4:30 P.M.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As expected, Lexington Police Chaplain Cameron Stewart announced at a press conference just before noon that he is retiring from the police department effective Saturday.

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In February 2019, Stewart was shown on video apparently striking an autistic 16-year-old during an incident at Fayette Mall. The city’s investigation into that incident continues as lawsuits against the department drag on.

But a small group of protesters outside the announcement say that’s not enough and the city should complete an investigation into a February 2019 incident involving Stewart and an autistic teenager.

A Federal lawsuit was filed against Stewart earlier this year over the mall incident. Stewart announced Thursday he has filed a lawsuit of his own in Fayette Circuit Court claiming defamation, emotional distress, and career harm. Protest organizer Sarah Williams is one of those named in that lawsuit.

UPDATE 7/8/20 10:30 p.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Protesters who have been organizing “Fire Donovan Stewart” rallies at the Fayette Mall have announced they’ll protest Thursday morning outside the FOP Lodge as Stewart speaks publicly for the first time.

The protesters say Stewart is being allowed to resign without an internal police investigation into formal misconduct complaints. They want those complaints fully investigated.
“We will show up tomorrow to voice our dissent. This entire situation represents the severe loopholes in #LPDAccountability that allow officers to simply retire instead of facing consequences for their actions,” protesters wrote online, sharing their demands.

 


 

7/8/20 8:00 p.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Former Lexington Police Chaplain Donovan Stewart will retire this weekend, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The newspaper reports Stewart will retire Saturday.

Earlier this week, Stewart was reassigned to the patrol division after the Lexington Police Department announced it was restructuring and eliminating the chaplain position, replacing it with a non-officer wellness coordinator. The department said at the time that decision was not connected to an incident at the Fayette Mall in 2019.

Stewart faces a federal lawsuit centered on a video captured of him hitting an autistic teenager at the mall in 2019. Police say the teen was with friends and the group was apparently being disorderly in several stores.
Protesters have recently taken their marches to the mall, demanding Stewart be fired.
Stewart’s attorney Scott A. Crosbie says the officer will speak publicly, with his wife, Thursday about his employment status with the police.
Crosbie says the couple will also give, “…further information about legal steps they are undertaking in response to recent false, malicious statements and other defamatory publications by certain individuals.”
Crosbie says Stewart has been a Lexington officer for 20 years, serving as a patrol officer, Field Training Officer and police academy recruit instructor.
He says Stewart was appointed Police Chaplain in 2006, offering officers and their families mentoring and counseling for almost 15 years.
According to Crosbie, Stewart also won the “Distinguished Service Award” from the police department in 2014.

The Herald-Leader reports the pension board has approved retirements of six other police officers in June and July, including:

Sgt. Franklin Patrick, Sgt. Allen Culver, Officer Bart Morse, Officer Christopher Russell, Officer Michael Carroll, and Sgt. Todd Iddings.

Board member and Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge 4 President Lt. Jonathan Bastian is among those in the state who have said a record number of officers are retiring right now. 

The same day Crosbie announced Stewart’s plans to speak publicly, Lexington Police happened to post on social media the department is hiring.