FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Several Jewish Kentuckians and state leaders are expressing outrage just before the Sabbath over Kentucky State Police training materials that quote Adolf Hitler.
People started learning about the materials Friday when a Louisville High School published an article about them.
The Manual RedEye, a publication of duPont Manual High School, reports an attorney related to a student reporter requested documents used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County in May 2018. Among those documents attorney David Ward requested was a slideshow entitled “the Warrior Mindset” that utilizes quotes from Hitler encouraging violence.
The RedEye reports it encourages troopers to be “ruthless killers” and have “a mindset void of emotion”. “Meet violence with greater violence,” the presentation encourages.
One slide shows a line from Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf: “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
There is also a link to a page dedicated to Hitler on online literary database Goodreads.
According to the RedEye, Hitler is quoted three times, more in the presentation than anyone else.
The paper reports a state police captain deposed earlier this month said a former KSP Lieutenant, Curt Hall, taught cadets “warrior mentality” from 2005 to 2015. The Courier Journal reports Lt. Hall recently retired from KSP and served as commander of internal affairs before that.
A statement to the student paper from KSP spokesman Joshua Lawson says, “The quotes are used for their content and relevance to the topic addressed in the presentation. The presentation touches on several aspects of service, selflessness, and moral guidance. All of these topics go to the fundamentals of law enforcement such as treating everyone equally, service to the public, and being guided by the law.”
Lawson did not say to the RedEye how long the presentation was used.
The RedEye also reports it tried to get more information about how long the presentation was used and whether anyone ever complained, but KSP never responded to its open records request.
Aaron Rothke, president of Jewish Advocacy of Kentucky says the presentation is unnacceptable.
“I’m hoping that this is still not the training today, but it’s scary because who knows how many officers were trained under this,” Rothke says.
“It is unacceptable that this material was ever included in the training of law enforcement. 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,” Morgan Hall, spokesperson for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, wrote.
Governor Andy Beshear says he found out about the training presentation in the same way many other Kentuckians did.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. It is further unacceptable that I just learned about this through social media. We will collect all the facts and take immediate corrective action,” he wrote.
U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, whose district encompasses Louisville, wrote, “I am angry. As a Kentuckian, I am angry and embarrassed. And as a Jewish American, I am genuinely disturbed that there are people like this who not only walk among us, but who have been entrusted to keep us safe. There needs to be consequences.”
Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, a leader in Lexington, and the state’s, Jewish community wrote:
“We are deeply pained by the news of the outrageous training materials used by the Kentucky State Police. The promotion of Hitler, the man responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews, millions of others, and the worse crimes in the modern era, by an agency, tasked with serving and protecting our community is shocking, and flys in the face of everything law enforcement should stand for.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the foremost leader of Judaism in the modern era, whose teachings and vision inspired the establishment of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center, emphasized that the world in which we live in is not a jungle, where brute force, cunning, and unbridled passion reign; there is a Supreme Being who takes a “personal interest” in the affairs of each and every individual, and everyone is accountable for their actions.
The Torah, the Jewish Scripture calls for the formation of Police and tasks them with the responsibility of protecting society. This training, however, is a direct affront to that duty, encouraging violence among KSP officers, and quoting generals and murderers. Especially in a state plagued with white supremacists, such instruction to Law Enforcement is a disservice to the officers themselves, as well as to the citizens of the commonwealth.
We appreciate the immediate response by Governor Andy Beshear and look forward to this issue being given proper attention in the coming days.”
Organizations outside of Kentucky are even reacting. The New York based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), dedicated to stoping defamation of Jewish people tweeted about the presentation.
“It is entirely inexcusable for the words of Hitler to be used in training Kentucky State Police. ADL is actively working in the state to determine what happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again,” ADL tweeted.
The uncovering of the training presentation comes at a time when people across the country are clashing over policing and racial justice.
Rothke weighed in on this topic, saying, “it affects more than just the Jewish community as we’re trying to combat systematic racism.”
Louisville has been one of the centers of anti-police violence protests after Louisville Metro Police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her home in March.
Many protesters accused both Louisville officers and KSP troopers of using excessive force against protesters and journalists.
Rothke says the recently revealed presentation is going to be yet another hurdle in improving relations with law enforcement, but he hopes a path forward can come from more officers make a personal connection with the communities they serve.