Unarmed black man who wasn't even protesting shot dead by police in Kentucky

Joanna Taylor
Tuesday 02 June 2020 06:00
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(Getty)

Law enforcement shot and killed an unarmed black man whilst dispersing a crowd in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday.

David McAtee, 53, was running a popular barbecue which regularly served police officers for free. Police say he was killed when their officers and the National Guard returned fire at protesters.

The two officers involved in the shooting had not activated their body cameras before opening fire. Mayor Greg Fischer fired Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) chief Steve Conrad in response to this "institutional failure". The two police officers involved have also been placed on administrative leave.

Before being sacked, Conrad told press that his officers were sent to clear a crowd of protesters from a parking lot.

Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at the scene.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said that Kentucky state police will investigate McAtee's death. US Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, Russell Coleman, has also announced that his office have begun an investigation alongside Louisville FBI.

Police say that they have ascertained from overhead crime centre cameras that two police officers and two National Guardsmen returned fire at protesters. But some people dispute this account, claiming that the police and National Guard were enforcing curfew, not dispersing protesters.

Kris Smith recorded shots being fired on Facebook Live.

"We weren’t protesting," he told Buzzfeed News. "We were just having a good time. We were eating... We were listening to music, having a good time."

Videos alleging to show the incident taking place are circulating on social media, but official footage verifying the police's account is yet to be released.

Tributes have poured in for David McAtee, nicknamed YaYa, known throughout West Louisville for running YaYa’s BBQ Shack.

His mother, Odessa Riley, told CNN that her son was "trying to make an honest dollar to take care of his rent and his bills".

The protesting is good, protest, for the other people to get what they deserve to. They killed my son. My son don't mess with nobody.

Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said:

David was a friend to many, a well-known barbecue man. They've nurtured so many people in their bellies and in their hearts before, and for him to be caught up in this, not to be with us today is a tragedy.

People gathered at the spot where McAtee was killed.

Protests in Louisville have centred around the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was shot multiple times by the LMPD who forced their way into her home to carry out a search warrant in a drugs investigation.

Taylor, an emergency medical technician, died on 13 March 2020.

Last week, seven people were shot whilst protesting Taylor's death. Mayor Fischer told reporters that the shots "came from within the crowd, not from police officers". He also said that two of those shot were recovering after surgery and the remaining five were in "good condition".

Fischer has now enacted curfew from 9pm to 6:30am until 8 June in Louisville in response to McAtee's death.

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