Law Enforcement Kills Unarmed Black Man While Trying To Disperse Protest Crowd

Valerie Williams

A beloved chef and owner of a local BBQ joint is now dead after being shot by law enforcement in Louisville

Last night, an unarmed black man was shot and killed after police and the Kentucky National Guard “returned fire” on a group gathered in a parking lot past the city’s curfew. Now, Louisville citizens are outraged and calling for justice for David McAtee, a man known for doing good work in their community.

McAtee was the owner of a BBQ place in Louisville, Kentucky. It was called YaYa’s BBQ and it was located in western Louisville. McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley, tells the Courier Journal that her son was “a community pillar.”

“He left a great legend behind. He was a good person. Everybody around him would say that,” she said. “My son didn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement Monday that Louisville Metro Police Department and Kentucky National Guard “were fired upon” while trying to disperse the crowd that had gathered passed the city’s current curfew. Beshear has now authorized Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the shooting.

People who knew McAtee are outraged and saying that he used to feed police officers and donate food to shelters.

“I’ve been doing this for about 30 years, but I’ve been here for two,” McAtee told West of Ninth, a photo blog by Walt and Marshae Smith, during an interview earlier this year. “This location is the one of the busiest locations in west Louisville. I always wanted to be in this spot, and when the opportunity came, I took it.”

McAtee’s work in his community was well-known. “Mr. McAtee would help us with Californian Day for at least 15 years, if not longer,” Greg Cotton, Jr., who lives in Middletown, told the Courier Journal today. “He was one of the ones who would donate all his time and all his food; everybody could just come up and take it and he wouldn’t charge because it was for the neighborhood.”

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad was fired by the city’s mayor, Greg Fischer, after it became known that the body cameras of officers involved in the shooting were not turned on at the time.

“At this point in the investigation, we do not know who shot [McAtee],” Louisville’s new police chief, Rob Schroeder, said at a press briefing. “We do not know if it was related to a separate incident or if it was due to shots by our officers by the national guard soldiers. We’re working diligently to work what happened.”

“He fed them free,” Riley said. “He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing.

“My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family,” she added. “And they come along and they killed my son.”

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