Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad has been “relieved of duty” just a month before his scheduled retirement after it was discovered the body cameras of officers involved in the shooting of black chef David McAtee were inactive.
Conrad had told reporters that McAtee was killed after police and National Guard troops called to disperse a crowd were fired upon, at around 12:15 am. Both police and the soldiers returned fire, fatally striking the barbecue restaurant owner.
When Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) demanded the release of body camera footage so that the public could “decide for themselves” who was to blame, the officers’ cameras were found to had been turned off. Conrad was relieved of his duties, just a month before his planned retirement.
The Louisville Metro PD chief announced last week his plans to step down effective July 1, citing “tough times” within the department. The statement is widely believed to be a reference to the police killing of Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor in her home, during a no-knock raid to serve a drug warrant on her partner.
The FBI recently began an investigation into Taylor’s March 13 killing, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer belatedly suspended the use of the controversial search warrants that contributed to the woman’s untimely death. After Sunday’s shooting, Beshear has authorized state police to investigate McAtee’s death as well.
The Louisville protesters have taken up the cause of justice for Taylor in addition to George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes last week.
By all accounts, McAtee was a good friend of the police, serving them free meals from his barbecue restaurant. The officers who shot McAtee have not been named. Several “persons of interest” were interviewed in relation to the incident, Conrad had said.
The Louisville protests have been especially violent, with seven people wounded by gunfire in a single day last week. Police insist that most of the violence was of the protester-on-protester variety.
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