Family, friends of Desman LaDuke demand action at Nicholasville City Commission meeting
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - At Monday night’s Nicholasville City Commission meeting, friends and family of Desman Laduke gathered, asking for more information about the investigation.
They say they heard from Nicholasville Mayor Alex Carter for the first time. Carter read a prepared statement after the family tearfully asked for more information in the investigation.
22-year-old Desman LaDuke was shot and killed during a standoff with Nicholasville Police in October 2022.
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LaDuke’s aunt Melissa Marks says he was battling a mental health crisis when he was shot. She and her supporters have been protesting, marching and fighting for what they call ‘Justice 4 Desman’ ever since.
“Our brown and black babies are not more dangerous because of the color of their skin,” Marks said. “That’s what I want acknowledged. I want the treatment, how differently people are treated because of the color of their skin to be acknowledged.”
The latest movement brought them to the Police Department, where people pleaded for more from NPD in front of the mayor and city commissioners, where they heard from Mayor Alex Carter for the first time.
Carter’s statement reading, “NPD continues to cooperate with the state investigation.” Going on to say all body camera footage and documents from the investigation so far have been released to the attorney overseeing LaDuke’s estate. And only the attorney under an “agreed protective order of mutual confidentiality.”
But for the family and friends listening, the prepared statement isn’t enough.
“Enacting policies for mental health crisis calls, something. This is something that needs to be worked on,” family friend Toy Kaittoe said. “None of that was said. This is an issue, it’s something we need to discuss, how mental health calls end up with assault rifles pointed at a human.”
“Any kind of remorse, any kind of sincerity, any kind of plans to move forward. To make changes. I was hoping to hear those things,” Marks said.
An attorney was appointed by an administrator of LaDuke’s estate in November.
Marks says she and her supporters won’t stop calling for answers, justice and some type of reform for mental health calls.
Police have claimed LaDuke pointed guns at them when one officer opened fire.
That officer is eight-year veteran Joseph Horton, who has been placed on administrative leave.
Kentucky State Police is handling the investigation.
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