Jessamine County

Former cop who arrested singer pleads guilty to DUI, gun charge

Joshua Cromer — the former Lexington police officer who arrested singer John Michael Montgomery and was later fired over a MySpace flap — pleaded guilty Thursday to DUI and carrying a concealed weapon.

Lexington police arrested Cromer on June 13, 2008, in the parking lot of the Shillito Park Luxury Apartments complex after he blocked a vehicle driven by a possible car thief from leaving the scene of a hit-and-run.

Officers found a handgun under a bulletproof vest in the front seat. Cromer did not have the appropriate permit for the gun, according to police records. Cromer had been involved in a similar incident at the same apartment complex two years earlier.

Cromer was ordered to pay a $100 fine for the concealed-weapon charge, and his driver's license was suspended for 45 days, according to the Fayette County District Court clerk's office. Cromer also had to forfeit his weapon.

Fred Peters, Cromer's attorney, said that his client had been drinking but that he was trying to help stop a more serious crime.

Peters said Cromer had called police to stop the car theft, but "instead of chasing down the bad guy, they asked, 'Are you drinking?'"

In 2006, as a Lexington police officer, Cromer arrested Jessamine County resident Montgomery after a traffic stop, when two guns were found in Montgomery's pickup. The singer was charged with driving under the influence, possessing a controlled drug and two counts of carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Montgomery eventually entered an Alford plea to a drunken-driving charge, which means he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

On Cromer's page, some of the postings congratulated Cromer on the high-profile arrest. One officer posted an altered photograph of Montgomery and a fan, in which Cromer's face had been substituted for the face of the fan.

The Urban County Council unanimously approved Cromer's firing, citing misconduct, inefficiency, insubordination and conduct unbecoming a police officer. Cromer filed a lawsuit against the city seeking reinstatement and back pay. Cromer's attorney, Shane Sidebottom, argued that Cromer's firing was arbitrary and unjustified.

Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark ruled in March 2008 that the city was justified in firing Cromer.

Cromer now works in retail in Frankfort, Peters said.