NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — During a march through Nicholasville, protesters called for greater transparency from the city’s police department after the death of Desman LaDuke.
Laduke is the 22-year-old suicidal man who was shot and killed by police a month ago. In the crowd Sunday was Melissa Marks, who raised LaDuke as his aunt.
“This can’t keep happening, you don’t answer a suicide call with a SWAT Team,” Marks said. “It just don’t make any sense.”
Protesters stopped outside the home where police say LaDuke had two guns that he pointed at police. They placed signs on LaDuke’s home and took a knee in the street, holding fists in the air.
“The Nicholasville Police department responded inappropriately to a call that should not have ended a man's life,” said organizer Sarah Williams.
Protesters said they wanted three things; justice, change, and answers. They want police to release the body camera footage from that was as well as the department’s policies and procedures.
“We need a copy of those policies and procedures before we can talk about what they did wrong on that day and what can change about them,” Williams said.
Their goal is to make sure no other person facing a mental health crisis loses their life, so people don’t follow Marks in her grief.
“I do my best day-to-day,” Marks said. “Just waking up every day and having to relive it, that he’s not here that he’s not going to come over for lunch and ask me what I cooked every day, he’s not going to come over and light the fire every day, he’s not going to come and play with his sister every day. It’s just, every day I congratulate myself I made it through one more day.”
LaDuke’s family is also pushing for greater awareness about mental health in minority communities. In a past statement Nicholasville Police said they made every effort to reach a peaceful resolution with LaDuke. Kentucky State Police are investigating the shooting, as is standard for shootings involving officers.