By Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – A popular black restaurateur was fatally shot dead in Kentucky early Monday when police and National Guard troops fired guns as they dispersed a crowd protesting the police’s murder of African Americans.
The Louisville police chief was released and two officers taken on administrative leave after the authorities learned that the officers had fired their weapons without using body cameras to record what happened, Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press conference on Monday.
“We had a terrible tragedy last night on 26th and Broadway,” said Fischer. “We lost a wonderful citizen named David McAtee.”
The death of McAtee, who owned YaYa’s BBQ near the scene of the shootout, was the second time the Louisville police had stopped using their body cameras during a shooting incident that killed an unarmed black resident.
Like protesters across the country, protesters in Louisville were outraged by the treatment of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after being held under the knee of a white officer for almost nine minutes. They also protested Louisville officials who shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor while serving a warrant without a knock in her home.
Racial inequality protests hit the nation’s major cities for a week when officials extended the curfew in hopes of preventing a seventh night of looting and vandalism over Floyd’s death.
Details of the circumstances surrounding McAtee’s death are not immediately available, said Fischer.
However, he added that the authorities know that two Louisville police officers and two National Guard soldiers fired their weapons. Officials say they returned fire after someone shot them, said Fischer.
Kentucky democratic governor Andy Bashear promised a comprehensive investigation.
“My promise is that we will give you the truth no matter what the truth is,” he told a press conference.
(This story has been rewritten to say “scattering” instead of “scattering” in the main paragraph.)
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California, edited by Tom Brown)