Nicholasville community asks police for answers after tragedy

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky State Police continue to investigate an incident involving Desman LaDuke, the young black man who tragically lost his life in a situation involving Nicholasville Police end of October. Residents of the town and surrounding areas are now calling the police to account.

What do you want to know

  • The community of Nicholasville stands with the family of Desman LaDuke as they demand justice.
  • Among the list of demands for justice are the city’s mental health crisis units
  • Family members remember the 22-year-old for his kindness after the tragedy.

Snow, rain and cold are just a few of the factors that these groups of parents, friends and family members faced when they sought justice for Desman LaDuke. The young adult tragically lost his life in a situation involving Nicholasville police in early November. One of Desman’s aunts, Carmen Marks, says he was gentle and had a caring heart.

“A really great guy with an infectious personality who worked well with children and was always willing to give and be there for all of his family members in the community so again this is now very unfair and unjustified” , Marks said. Desman’s aunts, family, close friends and community members marched to the police station with signs reading “Say his name” and “I am him.”

Close friends of Desman LaDuke, 22, support the demands for justice and remember their friend. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

Sarah Williams, Lexington Police Department accountability officer and registered nurse, helped lead the charge, which says this situation is hitting home.

“These are people I grew up with in church, my grandmother taught Sunday school and it happened on Green Street where my grandmother lived for decades and I don’t I don’t need to get more personal than that,” Williams said.

The group says it is actively filing an open case request with the Nicholasville Police Department’s Mental Health Crisis and Training Policy.

The Lexington Police Department Accountability Group and organizer Sarah Williams speak to supporters before the march. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“Once we have a copy to show how they respond to mental health crises, let’s look at how these will change, because we know that in Lexington we have looked at them extensively. The Commission on Racial Inequality in Justice even looked at a pilot program in Eugene, Oregon called the Coalition program where you take a team of mental health-focused people from the community and intervene appropriately in mental health crises. Williams said she also believed it was something that could make a difference in towns like Nicholasville.

Prepared to meet the police, individuals were given a number to help them with any legal arrangements and more.

The list of demands includes the firing of the officers involved, full body camera footage of the call, as well as the formation of a community crisis response team for other mental health situations.

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