The man who was shot and killed during a protest in Kentucky over the weekend was a popular barbecue chef known for feeding police officers for free.
David McAtee, the 53-year-old owner of Yaya’s BBQ Shack, died early Monday morning after Louisville Metro Police Department and Kentucky National Guard arrived at Dino’s Foodmart, which is located near the chef’s barbecue restaurant, to clear a crowd gathered outside in the parking lot, according to authorities.
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Police said that gunfire came at them from the crowd and both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, with the situation resulting in one person dead at the scene.
McAtee’s identity was revealed in a press briefing on Monday afternoon, in which Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the decision to fire Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad after it was revealed that the officers involved in the shooting did not activate their body cameras.
“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said.
Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder, who will now act as the interim chief of the LMPD, said the department was “deeply saddened” by McAtee’s death.
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“Over the years, he’s been a good friend to the police officers of LMPD, frequently making sure our officers had a good meal on their shift and becoming good friends with those officers,” he said.
McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley, told The Courier-Journal that her son was a “community pillar” who often provided free food to officers.
“He left a great legend behind. He was a good person. Everybody around him would say that,” she said. “My son didn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do nothing to nobody.”
“He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing,” she said. “My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family.”
She continued, “And they come along and they killed my son.”
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Schroeder said during the conference that two LMPD officers and two National Guard members fired their weapons during the shooting, though they currently do not know who shot McAtee.
While an investigation is ongoing, the two LMPD officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, according to Schroeder.
“There is no excuse for their clear failure to violate our policy,” he said, adding that there “will be disciplinary action for failing to utilize our cameras.”
Louisville’s protests — like many staged across the country — follow last week’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well other high-profile incidents of violence and mistreatment against black people.
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In Louisville, Breonna Taylor, a black EMT and aspiring nurse, was killed in her home by police who were allegedly serving a warrant in the wrong apartment, according to a lawsuit from Taylor’s family.
On Saturday, Gov. Andy Beshear authorized the mobilization of the Kentucky National Guard to assist in the ongoing unrest in Louisville. In a video message about the decision at the time, the Governor said though protests began peacefully, outside groups entered the fray to instigate violence.