Family of Desman LaDuke to file wrongful death lawsuit against Nicholasville Police

Nicholasville, KY–The family of Desman LaDuke, a 22-year-old man who was killed by the Nicholasville Police Department on Oct. 22, plans to file a civil lawsuit against the agency, according to a Herald-Leader report.

The family says LaDuke was having a mental health crisis when he was wrongfully shot and killed by NPD. The NPD says he aimed two firearms at officers, but has provided no evidence to support their claims.

Family attorney Sam Aguiar says Kentucky State Police, who investigate police shootings in Kentucky, do not normally release body camera footage or other records from police shootings until their investigation is complete. “Part of the reason you have to file suit early is because that is the only way to get materials,” Aguiar told the Herald-Leader. He thinks the cops often “hope people forget” about police shootings while the public is awaiting the results of an investigation.

Body camera footage of the shooting will likely not be released until after the lawsuit is filed and the discovery process has begun, but one video of the shooting has already been posted online. It shows officers with scoped rifles aiming towards a house when a gunshot is heard.

Watch: Video shows moment shot is fired at Desman LaDuke

Whit Whitaker, president of the Lexington-Fayette NAACP, told the Herald-Leader he hopes the Kentucky State Police will appoint an independent investigator to handle the case. He also said the NPD should apologize to the family and have mental health professionals accompany police to calls like Desman’s.

Nicholasville Police had no comment on the lawsuit.