People still demanding justice four months after death of Desman LaDuke

Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 10:22 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Sunday marked the four months since 22-year-old Desman LaDuke was shot and killed during a stand-off with the Nicholasville Police. LaDuke’s family says he was battling with a mental health crisis when he was shot. Police claim LaDuke pointed guns at them when one officer opened fire. His family disputes that. Sunday, people gathered in Nicholasville to once again demand justice for LaDuke, and the community is still mourning the death of LaDuke like it was yesterday.

“You’ll never meet somebody that met Desman that he didn’t make smile when they were having a bad day,” said Melissa Marks, who was a family member of LaDuke. “It didn’t matter if he was having the worst day of his life, if he saw somebody else struggling he was always there; he always wanted to help.”

A group gathered today, continuing to march for justice for LaDuke. The group marched to the house where LaDuke was shot, and later to the courthouse; demanding Kentucky State Police (KSP) to give them more answers. The group continues to remember LaDuke, and says that they will continue to fight for justice, despite rain, snow or sleet.

“People who are committed to the fight for justice understand that it’s not going to always be on sunny days, or dry days, or clear days,” said activist and rally organizer Sarah Williams.

A big emphasis at the rally was that mental health is not a crime. Rally organizers say that LaDuke was just having a bad day, and that nobody should be shot and killed because of that.

“It just kills me that the one day that he actually needed help the most, was his last day here,” said Marks.

Williams also said that the community will be meeting this coming Saturday to rally and organize the community to start addressing public officials.

KSP identified officer Joseph Horton, an 8-year veteran of the Nicholasville Police Department, as the person who shot LaDuke.

He has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. KSP said their investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and they have not released the body cam footage from Horton.