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Louisville police chief fired after officer bodycams found to be off during fatal shooting

Louisville police chief fired after officer bodycams found to be off during fatal shooting

The two officers involved, who were either not wearing or did not have their cameras activated, have been placed on administrative leave.

By Doha Madani

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has been relieved of duty after it was revealed that the officers involved in a shooting that killed a local business owner early Monday did not activate their body cameras.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the decision to relieve Conrad during a Monday afternoon press conference, where the deceased was identified as David McAtee. Conrad was set to retire later this month.

“David was a friend to many, a well known barbecue man that nurtured so many people in their bellies and their hearts before,” Fischer said of the victim. “And for him to be caught up in this, for him to not be here with us is a tragedy. It’s just hard to put into words.”

The two officers involved, who were either not wearing or did not have their cameras activated, have been placed on administrative leaveIt’s unclear whether the fatal shot was fired by law enforcement or a separate individual, active Chief Rob Schroeder said Monday.

“We are working diligently to determine what happened, the community has a lot of questions and we share those same questions,” Schroeder said.

Other audio and video from the incident will be released, officials said.

Louisville officers and the National Guard were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd at around around 12:15 a.m., according to a statement Conrad gave earlier Monday. He said officers were “shot at” at some point while trying to clear the area and returned fire, leaving one person dead.

Image: Protests in Louisville following the death of Breonna Taylor
Security Police Officers with the Air National Guard stand with Louisville Metro Police officers during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 31, 2020.Bryan Woolston / Reuters

In a statement Monday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in death” and said he has asked the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the shooting.

Officers were required to wear active body cameras following the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, a black woman killed in her home in March by Louisville police while they served a “no-knock” warrant against the couple in an alleged drug case. Taylor’s family claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit that Taylor and her boyfriend believed their home was being broken into and shot at officers because they did not identify themselves.

Taylor’s death has been a catalyst for protests in Louisville, demonstrations that over the weekend were reignited by the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died last week after a police officer kept a knee on his neck for over eight minutes.

More than 40 people were arrested Sunday night, the city’s fourth consecutive night of demonstrations, according to NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE.

Last Thursday, seven people were shot in the city during protests that turned violent. Officers were not involved in the Thursday shootings, Police Sgt. Lamont Washington said at the time.

Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for WAVE, was on air Friday when she yelled and said she was “getting shot” by rubber bullets or pepper bullets.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.