Desman LaDuke’s family joins NAACP for courthouse press conference

Lexington,KY–The family of Desman LaDuke, who was killed by a Nicholasville Police Department sniper on October 22, spoke at the Fayette County Courthouse today in downtown Lexington. They were supported by local leaders from the Lexington Fayette County NAACP.

The family called for all reports, statements, and footage around the killing to be publicly released. They also questioned what was going through the minds of the officers who took part. “The only question in their mind from my point of view is ‘stop trying to kill yourself or we’re going to kill you,” said Kahnan Leslie, a family member.

We are demanding that the reports be released, demanding that all footage be released, we’re demanding that police statements that have been made be released. We are asking the community in Nicholasville, what do you stand for?”

Lexington Fayette County NAACP President Whit Whitaker

The family says LaDuke was suffering from a mental health crisis and had a gun, which they feared he would use to harm himself. They say when the NPD arrived, they did nothing to deescalate the situation, but instead made matters worse. “He was only a threat to himself. Officers pointing rifles at him certainly didn’t deescalate things. It made it worse.”

LaDuke was killed alone in his home by a rifle shot through his bedroom window. NPD alleges, without providing evidence, he pointed weapons at officers before they took the kill shot. A nationally known activist got the video from a neighbor and posted it, bringing national attention to the case and prompting the Kentucky State Police to even use the video in their homicide investigation.