Last June in Louisville, Ky., during a protest over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, David McAtee was fatally shot by a member of the National Guard. Almost a year after his death, it’s been announced that neither the National Guard members nor the Louisville Metroville Police officers involved in the shooting will face state charges.
According to WDRB, Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine announced he would not take the case before a grand jury as he believed the officers and the National Guard were acting in self-defense. On June 1, a group of LMPD officers and National Guard members was clearing out a crowd near McAtee’s BBQ restaurant, YaYa’s.
His niece was standing outside when LMPD Officer Katie Crews began firing pepper balls towards the restaurant, striking her multiple times. McAtee went to pull his niece, Machelle, into the restaurant and fired a shot from a handgun.
In a press release from Wine, he said McAtee’s nephew gave a recorded statement to investigators that he had told McAtee that marshals or “whoever” were outside prior to the shooting.
“Nevertheless, following the hurried entry of (his niece) and others into YaYa’s through the side door, Mr. McAtee pointed a gun [out] that door and fired one shot,” Wine wrote. “He then stepped back inside before reemerging to fire a second shot.”
Because McAtee fired his gun and “posed an immediate threat of death or serious injury,” law enforcement was justified in using deadly force in response, Wine wrote.
“This investigation will not be presented to a Jefferson County Grand Jury for further review or potential charges against any of the LMPD officers or National Guard soldiers who fired their weapons,” Wine said.
McAtee was shot once through the chest by an unknown National Guard member and died at the scene.
Attorneys for McAtee’s family have said that it was the actions of the LMPD officers and the overuse of force that led to McAtee’s death. They particularly focused on the actions of Crews, who they believed instigated the events that led to McAtee’s death by firing multiple pepper balls toward YaYa’s and forcing the crowd to rush into the restaurant.
Wine also noted that the crowd was mostly compliant and dispersed when asked. Crews’ testimony has also raised questions on whether her use of force was necessary. “She was standing in, I don’t want to say, an aggressive manner, but as a manner that she was not going to go inside,” Crews said of McAtee’s niece, who she fired the pepper balls out.
LMPD policy states that force can only be used when “a degree of force is necessary to overcome actual, or anticipated, resistance by the suspect.” Video shows that Machelle was standing with her hands behind her back and leaning against the door when Crews begin firing pepper balls for what really seems to be no fucking reason.
McAtee’s family was informed of Wine’s decision before he announced it. A federal investigation into the shooting is underway, with Wine saying he would provide a 24-page report to investigators detailing his findings.