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 at the end of October. People in the city and surrounding areas are now asking the police for accountability. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Nicholasville community stands with the family of Desman LaDuke as they demand justice.

  • Among the list of justice requests are mental health crisis units in the city

  • Family members remember the 22-year-old for his kindness after the tragedy.

Snow, rain and cold weather are just some of the factors that these groups of parents, friends and family faced as they demanded justice for Desman LaDuke. The young adult tragically lost his life in a situation involving Nicholasville police at the beginning of November. One of Desman’s aunt’s, Carmen Marks, says he was gentle and had a caring heart.

“A very good guy with a contagious personality who worked well with the kids and was always willing to give and be there for everyone in his family in the community, so again, this is now very unjust and uncalled for,” 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 22-year-old Desman LaDuke are supporting the demands for justice and remembering their friend. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

Helping lead the charge is the Lexington Police Department accountability leader and registered nurse Sarah Williams, who says this situation hits home.

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

The group says they are actively filing an open records request with the Nicholasville Police Department training and mental health crisis policy.

Lexington police department accountability group and organizer Sarah Williams speak to supporters before the march. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“Once we get a copy of them to show how they respond to mental health crises to examine how those will change because we know in Lexington we’ve examined those extensively. The commission on justice race inequality even looked at a pilot program in Eugene, Oregon called the Cahoots program where you take a team of community people geared towards mental health and intervene appropriately in mental health crises.” Williams said she also believes this is something that may make a difference in cities like Nicholasville.

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

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