News Around the State

Published 1:52 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

Jobless rates fall in 115 Kentucky counties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State officials say unemployment rates fell in 115 Kentucky counties between August 2017 and August 2018.

The Kentucky Center for Statistics says jobless rates rose during that period in Owen, Monroe and Metcalfe counties. The rates stayed the same in Nelson and Lyon counties.

The center says the state’s lowest jobless rates were in Boone, Campbell and Woodford counties at 3.1 percent each. Next were Fayette, Kenton and Oldham counties at 3.2 percent each. Scott, Shelby and Spencer counties each had 3.3 percent rates.

The state’s highest unemployment rate was in Magoffin County at 11.7 percent.

West Nile virus confirmed in 5 Louisville residents

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky health officials are confirming the West Nile virus in five Louisville residents.

A statement from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness says four cases were neuroinvasive. That is a form of the disease that attacks the brain or tissues around the brain and spinal cord leading to encephalitis or meningitis.

Health department Director Sarah Moyer urged people to protect themselves while outside during dawn and dusk hours by wearing insect repellant and wearing long sleeves and pants. She says the massive amount of rain recently has caused mosquito populations to multiply.

Kentucky bar: White nationalists attacked Dem Socialists

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky bar owner says some white nationalists pepper-sprayed her general manager and harassed people attending a Democratic Socialists of America meeting.

Four camouflage-wearing men taunted and swore at DSA Louisville members who were meeting at The Silver Dollar, according to video from the Thursday night meeting reviewed by the Courier Journal.

DSA members identified the men as members of a white nationalist organization to proprietor Vanessa Cantley, saying they had encountered the men before.

Louisville Metro police spokesman Lamont Washington said Friday that he couldn’t confirm if the men were white nationalists: “It’s all subjective,” he said.

Cantley criticized the police response, writing on Facebook on Thursday that she “was advised at least one officer was seen laughing and joking around with the white nationalist group before letting them go with no repercussion.”

Washington said officers heard “conflicting reports” and didn’t arrest anyone.

Cantley said she has surveillance video and credit card slips, and would file a criminal complaint.

More counties need volunteers for foster care review

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Six additional counties need volunteers to review cases of children in foster care.

Volunteers must complete a six-hour initial training session. Training sessions are being held Friday in Lexington and Oct. 25 in Bowling Green.

Counties needing volunteers are Allen, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Clark, Crittenden, Fayette, Fulton, Garrard, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, Jessamine, LaRue, Lincoln, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Marshall, McLean, Todd, Trigg and Warren. Volunteers aren’t required to live in those counties.

Volunteers review the cases of children placed in care because of dependency, neglect or abuse to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.

For more information or to apply, visit the Citizen Foster Care Review Boards’ webpage .

Lawsuit: Police used excessive force, shot man 20 times

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The family of a Kentucky man shot more than 20 times by police is suing officers, accusing them of excessive force.

The Courier Journal reports 21-year-old Demonjhea Jordan was killed in April while fleeing a robbery.

Jordan’s parents say Officers Joshua Weyer, Benjamin Dean and Kody Despain and Detective Joseph Fox used “unauthorized and unnecessary deadly force.”

Body camera recordings show one officer shooting at Jordan from a half-block away, screaming “shots fired” as they run down a sidewalk. Another begins shooting through the windshield of his cruiser. A third shoots from the side.

Lt. Aaron Crowell said “multiple sources” said Jordan shot at officers, and the video shows the gun.

Officers can “use force, in this case deadly force, to protect themselves and others from death or serious physical injury,” Police Chief Steve Conrad said in April.

Police and prosecutors declined the newspaper’s request to comment on the lawsuit. Weyer, Dean, Despain and Fox remain on administrative reassignment as the investigastion continues.

GOP candidate admits fault for public resources in campaign

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Republican candidate for Kentucky’s House of Representative says he takes full responsibility for using government resources for his campaign.

Larry Elkins is running in House District 5. He is the current judge-executive for Calloway County. His campaign website lists contact information for the Calloway County Fiscal Court. The Kentucky Democratic Party said that means public employees were answering phones for his campaign during business hours. They have filed complaints with the Calloway County Ethics Commission and the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

In an interview, Elkins said the complaint was “legitimate” and he has corrected his campaign website. He said he should have been watching his campaign website more closely. He said he will accept whatever consequences are necessary.

Ex-detective indicted on perjury, evidence tampering charges

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky police officer involved in cases that wrongfully imprisoned several men was indicted Wednesday on perjury and evidence tampering charges.

Former Louisville police Detective Mark Handy was indicted by a grand jury in Jefferson County, news outlets reported. He is accused of giving false testimony against Edwin Chandler and tampering with evidence in a murder case against Keith West.

Chandler was in prison for nine years for the 1993 killing of Brenda Whitfield before new fingerprint technology helped clear him in 2009. The city paid him an $8.5 million settlement after his lawyers showed Handy coerced a confession from him.

West spent nearly seven years in prison for the killings of two men he said he shot in self-defense when they allegedly tried to kidnap and rape him. West’s lawyer Amy Staples said she and her client were pleased with the indictment and that it would help their motion filed this month to set aside a guilty plea in the case.

West’s motion alleges Handy taped over a witness statement and also failed to report exculpatory evidence found inside the car West said he was kidnapped in.

Louisville’s Council voted this year to ask Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear to appoint a special prosecutor after Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said there was not enough evidence to charge Handy with perjury in Chandler’s case. Beshear assigned Hardin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young as special prosecutor.

Handy left Louisville police for the county sheriff’s office and retired in February. The Courier Journal could not reach Handy for comment on Wednesday but he has previously said he couldn’t remember the details of the cases.

He is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on Oct. 22, Young said.