Louisville, Kentucky, 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 on Monday afternoon during a news conference, where the deceased was identified as David McAtee. Conrad had been 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 McAtee. “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 either were not wearing their cameras or did not have them activated, have been placed on administrative leave. It is unclear whether the fatal shot was fired by law enforcement or someone else, acting 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 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.
In a statement Monday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in death” and that he had 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 who was 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 she and her boyfriend believed their home was being broken into and that they shot at officers because they did not identify themselves.
Taylor’s death has been a catalyst for protests in Louisville, demonstrations that were reignited over the weekend 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, NBC affiliate WAVE of Louisville reported.
On Thursday, seven people were shot in the city during protests that turned violent. Officers were not involved in the shootings Thursday, police Sgt. Lamont Washington said at the time.
Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for WAVE, was on the air Friday when she yelled and said she was “getting shot” by rubber bullets or pepper bullets.