One man was killed after police and National Guard soldiers in Louisville, Kentucky, returned fire on a crowd they were trying to disperse amid another night of nationwide anti-racism protests, authorities said.
Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Monday in a statement that he has authorized the Kentucky State Police to “independently investigate” the shooting that killed the man, who was identified by officials as David McAtee.
Later Monday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he fired Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad after learning officers involved did not activate their body cameras during the incident.
“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said during a news conference.
Police say officers and National Guard soldiers were dispatched to Dino’s Food Mart in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville around 12:15 a.m. Monday to clear a large crowd in the parking lot.
Police say a person fired shots in their direction as they were clearing the crowd. Two LMPD officers and two National Guard soldiers fired shots in response, acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder said during a press briefing Monday afternoon.
It’s unclear whether McAtee fired at the authorities.
Police are interviewing several persons of interest, Conrad said during a news conference earlier Monday.
“It has been a very difficult four days for our city,” Conrad said. “Our officers are working very hard to keep people safe and protect property. 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 that we’re going to have to work and work through for a long time.”
Beshear had called on Fischer and the LMPD to publicly release body camera footage of the incident before nightfall.
“I want the people of Kentucky to be able to decide for themselves,” the governor said. “Let’s put it out. Let’s let people see it.”
Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) condemned “the killing of a treasured citizen in our community at the hands of law enforcement.” He called for a citizen review panel with subpoena power to be appointed to investigate the shooting.
“This is a travesty,” Booker said in a statement. “It is devastating to a community that is already grieving and in pain, and it was absolutely avoidable.”
“The decision to send an armed military force into the West End of Louisville is a clear escalation of an already tense situation,” he added. “I have not heard a reasonable explanation for why the National Guard was deployed to 26th and Broadway, or how their presence was intended to make our city any safer.”
Fischer said he met with McAtee’s mother to “mourn and grieve” on Monday.
“Obviously, there are many questions about the incident,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to getting all the answers out as quickly as possible.
Seven people were shot in Louisville on Thursday evening during a protest demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot and killed by police during a raid on her apartment in March.
All of the victims were recovering, Fischer said at a news conference Friday. The shooters have not yet been publicly identified. Police said officers did not fire any shots during Thursday’s incident.
Protests have erupted across the country since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd, who was unarmed, died after three police officers held him down, including one who knelt on his neck, and ignored his repeated statements that he couldn’t breathe.