Louisville is mourning the loss of another Black life after a restaurant owner was gunned down by police on Monday, June 1.
David McAtee, 53, died after the Louisville Metro Police Department and the National Guard shot into a crowd of people standing in a food mart parking lot, according to The Courier Journal. The circumstances surrounding the shooting are murky. Former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said the officers fired after someone in the crowd shot at them. McAtee was the only person harmed during the shooting.
Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters he didn’t think the people were there to protest and law enforcement arrived to enforce a curfew. However, some reports say they were there to break up a demonstration.
The YaYa’s BBQ owner was known as “the BBQ Man” in his community.
“He left a great legend behind. He was a good person,” said Odessa Riley, McAtee’s mother. “Everybody around him would say that. My son didn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do nothing to nobody.”
The grieving mother told The Courier Journal her son often fed police officers.
“He fed them free,” Riley said. “He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing. My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family,” she continued. “And they come along and they killed my son.”
McAtee’s body was left on the pavement for 12 hours. Community activist Robert LeVertis Bell told The Intercept the treatment of McAtee’s corpse reminded him of another high-profile shooting.
“Even if they had some sort of legitimate, procedural reason for [keeping the body at the scene] you’d think they would have in mind the trauma that they’re inflicting when they do that, especially having experienced that with the Mike Brown case in Ferguson,” Bell said. “That’s the first thing I thought, that this was terrorism… because it’s terrorizing, even if they don’t intentionally try to do it.”
Beshear demanded body camera footage after the shooting, but it doesn’t exist because none of the officers wore activated cameras, per WLKY. The lack of footage was upsetting to Mayor Greg Fischer, who fired Conrad on Monday.
“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said. Conrad was set to retire at the end of the month. The police department has been embroiled in controversy since the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor died in March after LMPD officers shot her eight times during a botched drug raid. Like other cities across the country, Louisville has seen days of protests for Taylor and others who have been murdered by the police or white assailants.
LMPD officers Kate Crews and Allen Austin have been placed on administrative leave. The National Guard has not addressed the incident publicly. On Monday evening, U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman announced his office will investigate with the FBI Louisville Field Office and the Kentucky State Police.
Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder promised repercussions for the lack of body-camera footage.
“We will review the entire incident to determine if there were any other policy violations that occurred,” Schroeder said. “I assure you, there will be discipline for failing to utilize our cameras.”