US authorities are investigating a fatal shooting on Saturday night at a park in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, where demonstrators had gathered to protest the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman … Read More
Officer Katie Crews, who was placed on administrative reassignment Monday in the fatal shooting, posted a Courier Journal photo of a protester across from her and said, “I hope the pepper balls that she got lit up with a little later on hurt.”
A screenshot of the post circulated on social media sites.
New Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Monday night he is aware of the post and started a professional standards investigation into it.
The photo in Crews’ post, taken Thursday, shows a protester offering flowers to Crews.
“She was saying and doing a lot more than ‘offering flowers’ to me. Just so for it to be known,” Crews wrote in the post. “For anyone that knows me and knows that facial expression tells everything.”
After mentioning the pepper balls, Crews ended the post with “Come back and get ya some more ole girl, I’ll be on the line again tonight.”
Crews joined the Louisville Metro Police Department in 2018 and does not have any disciplinary records, according to the department.
After learning that Crews and LMPD Officer Allen Austin had no body camera footage from the shooting incident in which McAtee died, Mayor Greg Fischer fired Police Chief Steve Conrad, who was slated to retire at the end of the month.
Police said that shortly after midnight Monday, someone shot at officers from a parking lot at 26th and Broadway where a large number of people were gathered. LMPD and National Guard troops returned fire, killing McAtee, who ran a popular barbecue stand nearby.
Police said they don’t know whether McAtee was the person who fired at police.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Police in Louisville, Kentucky shot pepper balls at a news team as they were broadcasting live coverage of a Friday protest.
After indicating that she was “behind the line” created by officers, reporter Kaitlin Rust of television station WAVE was hit by a non-lethal offensive weapon by an alleged member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. In the video, the officer can also be seen aiming at the cameraman.
“I’ve been shot!” Rust screamed after the weapon was fired. She then said it was only a rubber bullet and that she was fine. Rust then corrected herself and said she had been shot with a pepper ball.
The officer then pointed his weapon at the news photographer. “They’re aiming at us,” Rust said. “They’re aiming directly at us.”
News anchors in the WAVE studio commenting off-screen said, “They’re shooting at our crew,” as Louisville Metro Police Department attempted to form a line across a street in the background. Another off-screen voice said, “Do they not know that—obviously, they can see the camera.”
Newsweek reached out to Rust and WAVE for comment. This story will be updated with any response.
Like other cities across the U.S., Louisville has been the location of demonstrations sparked by the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who died while in police custody on Monday. Protesters have been calling for justice in the Floyd case. In Louisville, demonstrators have been decrying not only Floyd’s death but the shooting of Breonna Taylor by members of the LMPD.
In March, Taylor was shot at least eight times in her apartment as officers served a no-knock search warrant. The terms of the warrant stated that officers did not have to announce their presence or introduce themselves as police. Taylor’s partner, Kenneth Walker, believed their home was being invaded and fired upon the officers. Officers shot back, hitting Taylor in the process.
Although the officers were searching for narcotics, none were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Demonstrations in Louisville over Taylor’s shooting resulted in seven people being shot Thursday night. None of the injuries were reported as fatal. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday that the LMPD had not opened fire during the demonstration.
Fischer also announced that the usage of no-knock warrants would be suspended in Louisville.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said Friday she was appreciative of people demanding that justice be done while decrying the violence evidenced during the protests.
“Please keep demanding justice and accountability,” Palmer said. “But let’s do it the right way, without hurting each other. We can, and we will, make some real change here.”