A man was killed after being shot at by Louisville Metro Police and the National Guard on Monday morning, capping off a violent weekend in which police across the country escalated demonstrations protesting police brutality by employing aggressive tactics against protesters.
On Monday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer identified the man who died as David McAtee.
The shooting happened as LMPD and the National Guard was attempting to disperse a large crowd in the parking lot of a Dino’s Food Mart on 26th and Broadway, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. LMPD claims that they were fired at by someone in the crowd; after which they returned fire. McAtee died as a result of the shooting, but officials haven’t confirmed whether he was shot by law enforcement or someone else.
On Monday morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered Kentucky State Police to launch an independent investigation into the shooting, reports the Washington Post. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad is expected to release more information on the killing later today, promising that surveillance footage from the scene would be released to the public soon.
Officials have not confirmed whether McAtee was the person who allegedly shot at law enforcement, nor did they share whether the crowd at the parking lot was involved in the protests that took place in Louisville earlier that day—the fourth night that residents of the city took to the streets to demand justice in the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was shot and killed in a police raid of her apartment on March 13.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., on Monday further inflamed Louisville residents, who have yet to see any charges brought against the officers involved in Taylor’s killing. The 46-year-old Floyd died after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, as Floyd and shocked bystanders begged for the officer to get off. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter last Friday.
But a public weary and frustrated with a collective lack of accountability around racist and aggressive policing demanded more this weekend: tens of thousands marched through the nation’s cities calling out the names of their dead. In Tulsa, Okla., they chanted the name of Terence Crutcher, killed in 2016 by then-Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby. In Baltimore, they called out Freddie Gray’s name.
Across the country, police escalated the demonstrations—ramming cars into crowds of protesters who had blocked city streets, hitting peaceful demonstrators and journalists with rubber bullets, releasing tear gas on the young and the old in the middle of a pandemic, and arresting hundreds.
So the public might be forgiven if they didn’t quite buy Chief Conrad’s comments at an early Monday morning briefing regarding yet another deadly shooting at the hands of law enforcement.
“Our officers are working very hard to keep people safe and protect property,” Conrad said, according to the Post. “While doing that, we’ve had officers shot at and assaulted. I think it’s very, very clear that many people do not trust the police. That is an issue we’re going to have to work on and work through for a long time.”
No shit, chief.
Updated Monday, June 1 2020 at 3:10 PM ET: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer identified the victim of last night’s shooting as David McAtee during a Monday afternoon press conference, reports The Daily Beast (this post has been updated to reflect his name, and to reflect that police still have not confirmed who he was shot by).
Fischer said he spoke to McAtee’s mother, whom he referred to as “Miss Odessa,” and “was so moved that I went to be with her for a moment to mourn and grieve.”
Fischer did not, however, give any details on how McAtee was killed, most importantly on whether he died as a result of shots fired by the LMPD or the national guard, or if he was hit by someone in the crowd. LMPD Chief Steven Conrad said the crowd outside the Dino’s Food Mart last night was connected to the anti-police brutality protests.