Protesters pay tribute to dead cycle driver, question bias; police respond


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Friends, family and total strangers gathered

Tuesday evening in an emotional rally to block and delay traffic on Richmond Road to pay tribute to a man killed Monday night in a motorcycle accident.

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The rally was an extension of almost two weeks of protests because the motorcycle driver, Daezon Tyquise Morgan, was black and the driver of the car, Matthew Starling, was white. And although police upgraded the charges against Starling, protesters wanted more, saying Starling should have been charged with the more serious crime of murder.

Matthew Starling/Lexington Police Department

Sondra Morgan, widow, says she wants everyone to know her husband’s name and his life matters.

Cydney Sleet, Daezon Morgan’s aunt, says Starling had preferential treatment because of his race. Something that fanned the fire from what protesters over the last few weeks have been marching for: Black Live Matter.

In a statement, police said race didn’t play a factor and that claim was baseless, both because of the law and the facts used to determine charges.

Protesters link arms to show unity during Tuesday night’s rally.

“Officers place charges based on where the investigation and evidence lead us, often in consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney office. Investigators look at all the factors unique to that particular case of what happened regardless of the demographics (race, gender, age, job title, etc.) of the people involved,” police spokesperson Brenna Angel said in a statement.

Later Tuesday night, police issued a further explanation, noting other cases where initial charges were filed and later upgraded. One of those — Dean Carson — was cited by protesters because the man eventually charged with murder was black and the victim was white.

Police added more.

“Collision Reconstruction investigations involve gathering a variety of evidence and information in order to build a thorough case file. The Lexington Police Department’s CRU process is consistent from case to case, but it is important to remember that each case involves many different factors,” Angel said in a statement issued just before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Cases she listed included: 

  • Suspect Tammy Rodriquez initially charged September 4, 2019 with DUI and No Operator’s License; charged September 19 with Murder and other offenses
  • Suspect Sequoyah Collins charged July 5, 2019 with DUI; charged September 3, 2019 with Murder and Assault
  • Suspect Dean Carson charged September 21, 2018 with DUI and possession of a controlled substance; indicted in December 2018 for Murder
  • Suspect Jacob Heil charged with DUI September 15, 2018 with DUI; indicted in February 2019 with reckless homicide
  • Suspect Samuel Turner charged with Operating a Vehicle on a Suspended License and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in October 2018; indicted in October 2019 for Manslaughter 2nd and other offenses

In this case, according to Lexington Police, 25-year-old Daezon Tyquise Morgan, of Lexington, was northbound on Richmond Road on a motorcycle when a car driven by 30-year-old Matthew Starling turned left from southbound Richmond Road at Preston Avenue into the path of the motorcycle.

Morgan was taken to the UK Medical Center where he died just before 2 a.m. Tuesday from blunt force trauma, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

The accident happened at about 8:50 p.m.

Starling originally was charged with aggravated DUI, posted bond and was released. He turned himself in to police Tuesday afternoon when investigators upgraded the charges to manslaughter.

According to police arrest affidavits, Starling smelled of alcohol and admitted he’d been drinking prior to the accident.

Tuesday night, police released a detailed timeline of events in the case, calling it “a timeline of the ongoing investigation thus far”:

Monday, June 8

8:50 p.m.       911 call

8:52 p.m.       First officer arrives

9:08 p.m.       Dispatch requests Collision Reconstruction Unit

10:05 p.m.     Supervisor requests additional officers as disorder breaks out on scene

10:10 p.m.     Officer begins Standardized Field Sobriety Testing but cannot continue due to the volatile situation

10:14 p.m.      Suspect transported to hospital to voluntarily complete SFST

11:02 p.m.      DUI arrest made

11:46 p.m.      Drug Recognition Expert exam

Tuesday, June 9

12:52 a.m.     Intoxilyzer test

8:13 a.m.       Collision Reconstruction Unit notified of victim’s death

8:30 a.m.–noon Investigators consult with Commonwealth’s Attorney office

1:45 p.m.       Manslaughter warrant affidavit generated

2:10 p.m.       Manslaughter warrant signed by Judge

2:24 p.m.       Officers attempt to serve the Manslaughter warrant at suspect’s home

3:11 p.m.       Contact made with suspect’s attorney

5:21 p.m.       Manslaughter warrant served