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Kentucky Police formation quoted Hitler and urged ‘ruthless’ violence

A slide show once shown to cadets training to join the Kentucky State Police includes quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee, says soldiers should be warriors who “always fight to the death” and encourages every soldier in training to be a “ruthless killer.”

The slideshow, which was revealed in a high school newspaper report Friday, has been severely condemned by politicians, Jewish groups and residents of Kentucky, but not by the Kentucky State Police Department itself. same, who said only that the training material was old. .

Morgan Hall, spokesperson for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which oversees state policing, said the slideshow was “deleted” in 2013 and was no longer in use, but declined to respond to a list of questions, including questions about how how long the material was used and how many cadets viewed the training.

Ms Hall said in a statement that it was “unacceptable” that this material had ever been included in law enforcement training. “Our administration does not tolerate the use of this material,” she said. She added that the cabinet’s agency had “started an internal review” after seeing the material on Friday.

Kentucky State Police assisted the Louisville Subway Police Department during protests against Louisville Police officers’ murder of Breonna Taylor, a black emergency technician shot dead by police during a raid on her apartment in March. The state agency also helped investigate Taylor’s murder, providing a ballistic report to the state attorney general before he determined that the officers who shot Ms Taylor were justified.

Quotes attributed to Hitler, the genocidal leader of Nazi Germany, and Lee, the Confederate General, are included among 33 slides that were shown to Kentucky Police Academy cadets as part of a slide show titled ” The Warrior Mindset ”.

“The very first essential element of success is a perpetually constant and steady use of violence,” reads a quote attributed to Hitler, which is cited more than anyone else in the training material. Some of the statements attributed to Hitler link to a website providing biographical information about him and listing books by and about him.

The training itself emphasizes that soldiers must be prepared to use violence to do their jobs well. One of the slides that quotes Hitler – under the headline “Violence in Action” – also states that soldiers should “be the father, wife and loving friend as well as the ruthless killer.” Another said that warriors “always fight to the death, they never give up” and that they must be ready to “join the fight”.

The title page says the formation was created by retired captain Curt Hall, who could not be reached for comment. Local reports, Mr Hall’s LinkedIn page and a 2018 State Police press release indicate that Mr Hall served as deputy commander at the police academy from 2005 to 2015 and subsequently served as commander at the department. of internal affairs and commander of one of the agency’s 16 regional posts.

The lesson appears to be at least partially consistent with “warrior training,” a controversial practice that often begins during basic training in academies and is modeled on the military training camp, which many police departments adopt. Many academies and police departments across the country have long emphasized a warrior mentality, experts said, with officers trained in conflict and equipped with the equipment and weapons of modern warfare. Critics have said the specialized training can lead officers to believe they are under constant threat of injury and can intensify encounters with civilians.

The slideshow was obtained by an attorney prosecuting a Kentucky State Police soldier who shot and killed Bradley J. Grant, 37, in 2018. David Ward, the attorney, said he had received a copy of the slideshow after filing a public statement. records the request for documents that the soldier saw during his training at the academy in 2013.

Mr Ward said he was shocked by the material and seemed to coincide with the combative nature of the soldier’s encounter with Mr Grant that preceded the fatal shooting. State Police said at the time that Mr Grant confronted two officers with a shotgun before being killed, but Mr Ward said Mr Grant pointed the shotgun at his own chin and asked the police to shoot him.

“This type of training – these quotes – creates a mindset that these soldiers are at war, that they have to come to work ready for battle,” said Mr. Ward. “This type of state of mind is likely to create a confrontational situation or a violent encounter, and I think it becomes even more likely when you meet someone who is suffering from a mental health crisis and who is less likely to. respond to verbal commands rationally. way.”

The slideshow was first reported by The Manual Redeye, a student newspaper at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, in an article written by the 16 and 14-year-old sons of another lawyer involved in the soldier’s lawsuit. . .

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It is also unacceptable that I just learned this through social media. We will gather all the facts and take immediate corrective action. “

The 33-slide presentation ends with a quote generally attributed to Theodore Roosevelt on credit belonging to “the man who really is in the arena, whose face is marred with dust, sweat and blood”.

It ends: “Questions ??”

Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio contribution to reports.