Kentucky Louisville

Man dies in Louisville, Kentucky, after police fired on a crowd: What we know –

A man was shot and killed in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday night after police officers and National Guard troops began firing into a crowd.

Residents have taken to the streets of Louisville, like thousands of Americans around the country, to protest the killings of black people at the hands of police — specifically, George Floyd, who died after being pinned by the neck by a Minneapolis police officer, and Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her Louisville apartment in March by officers who were looking for someone else. At many protests across America, police have attacked protesters, beating them with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets, and driving cars into crowds.

In downtown Louisville on Sunday night, police and the National Guard were sent to break up a crowd that had gathered in a parking lot, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a statement, according to NBC.

Officers “were shot at,” Conrad said, and they “returned fire.” Now, a man is dead.

On Monday, his family publicly identified him as David McAtee, the owner of a local restaurant. “He left a great legend behind,” his mother, Odessa Riley, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He was a good person.”

Officials have not yet confirmed who fired the fatal shot. But here is what we do know about the incident on Sunday that ended in McAtee’s death.

What we know

  • Police and the National Guard were sent to a parking lot at 26th and Broadway in Louisville on Sunday at about 12:15 am, according to NBC. Like many cities around the country in recent days, Louisville has imposed a curfew, which began at 9 pm.
  • Police say they began shooting after being fired on by the crowd. “Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Conrad said in his statement. “Both LMPD and national guard members returned fire.”
  • David McAtee, 53, was fatally shot. McAtee owned a barbecue restaurant on the corner where the crowd had gathered. Riley, his mother, says he was a “community pillar,” known for giving free meals to police officers. “All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family,” she told the Courier-Journal. “And they come along and they killed my son.”
  • Several sources say the crowd in the parking lot was not actually protesting when police arrived. One bystander told reporters they were not engaged in protest and were merely out past the city’s curfew. And McAtee’s sister told WAVE 3 News that McAtee and others meet in the area every Sunday night for food and music, and that her brother was serving food.

What we don’t know

  • According to NBC, Conrad did not specify who shot the man. However, the Louisville news station WLKY is reporting that he was shot by law enforcement.
  • Police say they are collecting video and investigating the killing.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered an independent investigation by state police. “Given the seriousness of the situation, I have authorized the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the event,” he said in a statement Monday.

What we know about the protests and police violence in Louisville and around the country

  • Louisville residents have been rising up in recent days against police violence around the country and in their hometown. On March 13, Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was providing health care during the coronavirus pandemic, was shot and killed in her apartment at night by police looking for someone who didn’t live there.
  • The FBI recently opened an investigation into Taylor’s killing. As public attention to Taylor’s death grew in May, Conrad, the police chief, announced his upcoming retirement. He is slated to retire in June.
  • Seven people were shot at a protest in Louisville on Thursday night. However, the mayor said at the time that police were not responsible for the shooting.
  • On Friday night, police shot two journalists at local station WAVE 3 News with pepper balls as they were reporting on the protests. “The two had been following police instructions, were standing behind the police line when they were fired upon, and were not disrupting or otherwise interfering with law enforcement,” WAVE 3 News general manager Ken Selvaggi said in a statement.
  • Across the nation, police officers have repeatedly been captured on camera in recent days attacking protesters, beating them with batons, ramming them with cars, and even spraying mace at a child.
  • McAtee’s family is calling for officers’ body camera footage of the shooting to be released and for the National Guard to be pulled out of Louisville. “All of that,” family members told the Courier-Journal. “We want all of that.”

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Asked Kentucky

Kentucky AG asked to serve as special prosecutor in Breonna Taylor case – NBC News

Kentucky’s attorney general will serve as a special prosecutor in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a woman fatally shot in her Louisville home by police who her family says were executing a “botched” search warrant.

“The Office of the Attorney General has been asked to serve as special prosecutor in the matter involving the death of Breonna Taylor. At the conclusion of the investigation, the office will review the evidence and take appropriate action,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced late Wednesday.

Hours earlier, Gov. Andy Beshear called on Cameron to “carefully review the results of the initial investigation to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind.”

“The public reports concerning the death of Breonna Taylor are troubling,” Beshear said in a statement.

Breonna Taylor was a qualified EMTFamily photo via NBC12

State Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville also called Wednesday for an independent investigation.

“Ms. Taylor was an innocent and valued member of our community, and it is unjust that she has been killed,” Booker wrote in a letter to Cameron. “The circumstances surrounding her violent death at the hands of officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department are deeply troubling.”

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Taylor’s family in a lawsuit accuses three officers, since identified as Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, of “blindly firing” more than 20 shots into her apartment, surprising the 26-year-old and her boyfriend who thought the officers were burglars.

Taylor, an EMT, and her boyfriend thought they were being burglarized and he fired at the officers in self-defense, the lawsuit said.

After the March 13 incident, the Louisville Metro Police Department said the officers had knocked on the door several times and “announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant.” After forcing their way in, they “were immediately met by gunfire,” Lt. Ted Eidem said at a news conference.

But the family’s lawsuit said the three officers entered Taylor’s home “without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers.”

Taylor was shot eight times and died. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 27, was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer.

The family’s suit said that Walker had a license to carry and kept firearms in the home, and that Taylor was unarmed.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of our own home,” attorney Benjamin Crump said at a Wednesday press conference, adding, “we cannot continue to allow them to unnecessarily and justifiably kill our black women and escape any accountability.”

The suit said the officers were looking for a suspect who lived in a different part of the city and was already in police custody. The Courier-Journal reported that records show the officers were investigating a “trap house” that was more than 10 miles away from Taylor’s apartment. They had been issued a “no-knock” search warrant for that residence.

A police spokesperson had no comment this week because the investigation was still ongoing. The officers were reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

Taylor and Walker had no criminal history or drug convictions. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed the lawsuit in April in Jefferson Circuit Court alleging wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence.

“Though it is unjust and reprehensible, it is true that black people in American society are often seen as deadly weapons simply because of the color of our skin. I urgently request that you ensure that justice is done in this case,” Booker wrote in his letter to Cameron. “I am counting on your leadership to ensure that Breonna Taylor’s life and service are more than yet another hashtag, and that this moment becomes a chance to stand against institutional racism and for the just humanity of all Kentuckians.”

Elisha Fieldstadt

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Minyvonne Burke


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