Why Did Police Officers Kill Desman LaDuke?

Desman LaDuke was shot and killed by Nicholasville police officers
Desman LaDuke – The Winchester Sun

Black Man Suffering a Mental Health Crisis

(KY) – On October 22, the family of Desman LaDuke became worried about his mental state and called 911. Desman had lost his mother in 2011 and his brother three years ago. He periodically suffered suicidal episodes. On that Saturday, he was struggling to find reasons to stay alive.

Nicholasville police officers arrived bringing two of their crisis negotiators. They also brought rifles. Nine different officers in tactical gear promptly surrounded Desman’s home and pointed assault rifles at the doors and windows.” Was that a full SWAT team? Whatever it was, it can’t in any possible way be considered as de-escalation. Unsurprisingly, the situation ended with police officers shooting and killing 22-year-old Desman LaDuke. 

According to the statement put out by the Nicholasville Police Department, the police officers “were confronted by an armed individual.” The phrasing makes it sound like he confronted them as soon as they got there. That’s not the case. Police officers surrounded Desman’s house for approximately two hours.

Press Release by Family

The family of Desman LaDuke has broken their silence and released a statement.  They tell us how officers refused to allow the woman, who raised Desman after his mother’s death, to talk to him. After Desman was shot, he was dragged through the house into the kitchen.

Press Release,

After an hour and a half, while Desman was inside his home by himself, an officer shot through his bedroom window. The bullet struck Desman in the chest. Officers made entry and then proceeded to drag Desman across the ground through the bedroom, the hallway, the living room, and the kitchen. Officers left the heavy trail of blood on the floor for the family to discover hours later. When close to twenty officers were inside the home, and as Desman was dying on the kitchen floor, other officers entered, yelling “show me your FUCKING hands” to him and yelling at him that it was his fault.

Was This a Wrongful Death?

It’s obvious that the officers responded poorly to a situation that dealt with mental health. The question is, were they justified in shooting Desman? The Nicholasville Police Department called in the Kentucky State Police to investigate the shooting. Don’t take that as a sign of confidence of their innocence. They are required by law to inform the state police who is then required to conduct the investigation.

A video has been released that shows the shooting from the outside. As you can see, none of the officers look like they’re under duress. One officer is casually moving around. He continues walking casually even after the officer on the ground with a sniper rifle fires the killing shot into Desman’s chest. It’s true that we can’t see what Desman is doing. But we can make inferences from their actions that they did not feel their lives were in danger. Attorneys have probably been contacting the family offering to represent them in a lawsuit. The video appears to justify one.

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