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Old Kentucky State Police training presentation draws criticism for quoting Hitler, Confederate general

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 9:58 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky State Police training presentation is drawing heavy criticism because of its content.

The presentation was released Friday by student journalists at the Manual RedEye, a Louisville high school publication. A Louisville lawyer sent the materials to them after getting them through an open records request.

The 33 page slideshow titled “The Warrior Mindset” outlines the ethics, values, beliefs and role of those in the KSP Academy.

Adolf Hitler is quoted three times in the slides, with links to his work and biography.

Lexington faith leader Rabbi Shlomo Litvin said the Jewish community and other minorities deserve an apology.

“To train police with the image of Hitler to be killers, to be warriors is a phenomenal error in judgement,” he said.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee is also included.

Recruits are instructed to be “ruthless” killers, meeting violence with greater violence.

Rabbi Litvin clicked through the presentation just before the Sabbath. He said it’s now time to right this wrong.

“They need to attend some sort of course to learn what was wrong with this, how this got anyone’s approval,” he said.

Lexington criminal defense attorney Daniel Whitley said this material makes him question KSP’s actions.

“The Kentucky State Police is doing a lot of investigations and our local police officers are holding them accountable,” Whitley said. “If their mentality is that Adolf Hitler is a person they can look up to, to go to our community and police, our whole community should be shocked by this.”

He said in a year when several Kentuckians were killed by state police, and in the midst of the aftermath of Breonna Taylor’s death, he’s asking if the agency is credible.

"Are they there to really serve and protect? Or are they just reckless cowboys with a hidden agenda?”

A communications director for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet responded to WKYT for comment. KSP is a part of the cabinet.

“It is unacceptable that this material was ever included in the training of law enforcement,” Morgan Hall said. “Our administration does not condone the use of this material. The material is not currently a part of any training materials and was removed in 2013.”

Whitley said that’s not enough.

"Anyone who ever was a part of this, participated in this, should be immediately fired.”

Governor Andy Beshear said his administration is investigating the matter.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “It is further unacceptable that I just learned about this through social media. We will collect all the facts and take immediate corrective action.”

Both Rabbi Litvin and Whitley said this doesn’t change their perception of every member of law enforcement.

“To me this doesn’t show poorly on the officers of the Kentucky State Police, but rather on the leadership” Rabbi Litvin said.

“I work with and been around a lot of great officers who wear that uniform with pride, but when incidents like this occur, it tarnishes their character,” Whitley said.

The Kentucky chapter of the ACLU called for any cadet given this presentation to be retrained.

“As the nation grapples with systemic racism and distrust of law enforcement grows, transparency and community-centric training practices are as important as ever,” Executive Director Samuel Crankshaw said. “Training should be focused on de-escalation and conflict resolution, not use of force.”

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