TTR News Center

Louisville police chief fired after fatal shooting of David McAtee

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A police chief has been fired and two officers are on administrative leave after a barbecue business owner in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky, was shot dead by law enforcement trying to enforce curfew amid protests over a previous police shooting, officials said.

David McAtee, who owned YaYa’s BBQ, was shot and killed early Monday morning in the parking lot of Dino’s Food Mart on 26th and Broadway, where he normally set up his stand.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement that the Louisville Metro Police Department and National Guard were dispatched to the lot to disperse a crowd when they were fired upon and subsequently returned fire, killing McAtee.

Amid an investigation by state and local police, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he learned that the officers involved in the incident had not had their body cameras activated when the shooting occurred.

“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said. “Accordingly, I have relieved Steve Conrad of his duties as chief of Louisville Metro Police Department.”

Fischer said Assistant Chief of Police Robert Schroeder will be taking Conrad’s place.

“The two officers that fired their weapons violated our policy by either not wearing or not activating their cameras,” Schroeder said. “That is completely unacceptable and there is no excuse… We will review the entire incident to determine if there are any other policy violations that occurred. I assure you we will follow up and there will be discipline for failing to utilize our cameras.”

Schroeder said that there were two LMPD officers and two National Guardsmen involved in returning fire. The two LMPD officers, Katie Crews and Austin Allen, were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. The National Guard will also conduct its own review on its members, he said.

Although there were no body cameras, Schroeder said the police department will be releasing video of the incident from nearby cameras as well as the audio from police radio transmissions in an effort to increase transparency.

McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley, described him to the Courier-Journal as a “community pillar” who would feed police for free. Those who knew him told the publication he would often cook for community events as well.

“David was a friend to many, well known, barbecue man,” Fischer said Monday. “[He] had nurtured so many people in their bellies, in their hearts before, and for him to be caught up in this and for him not to be with us today is a tragedy that is just hard to put into words.”

McAtee’s death comes amid protests in Louisville for Breonna Taylor, a licensed EMT, who was shot eight times while sleeping in her home by police executing a “no-knock” search warrant on March 13.

On Monday, Kentucky State Rep. Charles Booker said “our community is hurting.”

“This trauma never really seems to go away,” he said, addressing McAtee’s family and demanding justice and reforms that honor the lives of those who’ve been killed at the hands of police.

Laying out plans for what they hope to change moving forward, Fischer acknowledged that it may be hard to believe reform will happen.

“We are asking people to trust a process that they don’t trust,” he said. “And the roots of that mistrust are in the history of our country. I think that’s where again people need to have empathy for African American citizens when they say, ‘Well, just follow the process.’ The process hasn’t worked out so well. So I’m hoping that this new time of heightened awareness in our community — in our country — about these issues, we can address many of these issues.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Locations of George Floyd protests curfews and National Guard deployments

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Twenty-six states including the District of Colombia have activated their National Guards, with nearly 80 localities implementing curfews amid the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd.

The historic orders follow a weekend where protests erupted across dozens of U.S. cities. At least 4,400 people have been arrested as of Monday, according to The Associated Press.

“As of Monday morning, a historic 66,700 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for domestic operations across the United States in support of their governors” the National Guard Bureau said in a press release Monday.

45,000 National Guardsman had already been deployed to support states responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz first initiated the state’s National Guard on Thursday after protests descended into violence the night before.

Since then, half of the country’s states have activated the National Guard to aid local law enforcement.

While New York State has not deployed the National Guard, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the Guard is on “standby” in a press conference Sunday.

In addition to the nationwide National Guard deployments, localities across the country have implemented curfews.

New York City, the site of some of the country’s largest demonstrations, announced Monday afternoon that the city would enact a curfew taking effect at 11 p.m.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser moved the city’s curfew to 7 p.m. on Monday — four hours earlier than what it was on Sunday.

Los Angeles also announced that its order would begin at 6 p.m. on Monday. The City of Santa Monica began its downtown lockdown at 1 p.m. — with the entire city under lockdown at 4 p.m.

Several municipalities have also extended curfews.

Despite Miami-Dade County maintaining a curfew, Miami officials announced Monday afternoon that the city would lift its curfew order.

Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s death, announced a shorter curfew for Monday night, starting at 10 p.m, and expiring at 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Journalists covering George Floyd protests face attacks from police, advocacy groups say

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As protests over the killing of George Floyd roil the nation, journalists covering the news have been indiscriminately arrested, tear gassed or shot with rubber bullets by local law enforcement — at times even live on air.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, an advocacy and research group that records reported attacks on journalists, says it is investigating over 100 instances of attacks on members of the press from just the last three days. The majority of those aggressions have been from police.

In the last three days, at least 19 reporters have been arrested, 36 journalists have said they were shot at by police with projectiles such as rubber bullets and 76 have reported assaults (with 80% of those assaults being by police officers), according to their tally. The group cautions that the figures are preliminary and could change after their investigations.

Last week, video of a black CNN journalist being arrested live on air went viral, garnering outrage and a direct apology from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

As the protests continued across the country over the weekend, however, similar instances kept rolling in, many of them shared on social media by the journalists themselves.

Video of a journalist in Louisville, Kentucky, with the local NBC News affiliate WAVE3 appeared to show police taking aim and shooting rubber projectiles at the reporter and her crew while live on air.

Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske said on Twitter that she and other colleagues covering the protests in Minnesota were tear gassed at “point blank range.”

“We identified ourselves as press and they fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range, I got hit in the leg,” she said in a video shared Twitter. “I was saying, ‘Where do we go? Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us.”

She recounted her experience for the LA Times here.

Another reporter in Minnesota for the Star Tribune shared on Twitter that police shot rubber bullets through his car window, shattering the glass.

“I’m bleeding,” Ryan Faircloth said in the video. “Cops just shot my window out, my passenger side window out. Glass shattered as I tried to quickly turn and get out of their way.”

The new instances have raised alarm for press advocacy groups.

“It’s not enough to cover the protests via the official podiums of local police departments and politicians. Reporters need to be free to turn their cameras and microphones toward the local organizers who have long engaged in the fight for black dignity alongside those who are now taking to the streets with legitimate grievances against a system that devalues the lives of our people,” Alicia Bell, the News Voices organizing manager at the advocacy group Free Press, said in a statement.

“Rather than allowing law enforcement to control the narrative and vilify black people, as has been the case too often in the past, journalists have the right to mingle among protesters to document and air their perspectives,” Bell added.

She said this moment, however, also underscores the importance of building a relationship between newsrooms and communities.

The Save Journalism Project called the attacks “unconscionable.”

“In reporting on protests of police violence against black Americans, reporters and journalists have become targets of violence themselves,” cofounders Laura Bassett and John Stanton and spokesperson Nick Charles said in a joint statement.

“The acts of violence and injustice against reporters covering the fight for black lives against police brutality is unconscionable,” the statement added. “It impedes the press’ ability to hold officials accountable and shed light on the fight for equality.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kane Brown raises his voice to combat injustice: "We have to become one to be at peace"

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ABC/Image Group LAKane Brown is contributing his voice to the discussion of racism and injustice in America. 

In a tweet Monday, Kane focused his message on how to bring about peace and unity in a world that’s divided, encouraging that we all need to see one another as human beings. 

“We will never see peace in this world until we ALL see each other as PEOPLE. We will never understand each other when you have people on 2 different sides. We have to become 1 to be at peace,” Kane writes, alongside a peace symbol and heart emoji. 

He later expanded on this point in an Instagram post, admitting that he’s not a confrontational person and wanted to express his view point in an effective, yet sensitive manner. 

“I’ve been trying to think of how to say this as easy as possible and not be bashed because of the different sides. I hate confrontation but this is the truth whether you wanna Believe it or not,” he continues. “Any questions I’ll answer as many as I can.” 

Kane is one of the many country artists who have turned to social media to decry racism in the wake of George Floyd‘s death in police custody a week ago today in Minneapolis.  Others who’ve spoken out include Thomas RhettDan + ShayJimmie AllenLady Antebellum, Mickey Guyton and many more.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Independent autopsy finds George Floyd died of homicide by asphyxia

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(NEW YORK) — An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family found his death was a “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” according to early findings from the examination released Monday.

Floyd was apprehended by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last Monday, and one of the officers pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck as Floyd called out that he couldn’t breathe.

The independent examiners found that weight on Floyd’s back, the handcuffs and the positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Floyd’s diaphragm to function. The report concluded that Floyd, 46, died at the scene.

“The ambulance was the hearse,” Ben Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family, said at a news conference announcing the findings.

Later Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office released its initial findings of their autopsy and also declared Floyd’s death was a homicide caused by “a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).”

Dr. Michael Baden and the University of Michigan Medical School’s director of autopsy and forensic services, Dr. Allecia Wilson, handled the newly announced independent examination.

Baden, who was New York’s medical examiner in 1978 and 1979, had previously performed independent autopsies on Eric Garner, who was killed by a police officer in Staten Island, New York, in 2014 and Michael Brown, who was shot by officers in Ferguson, Missouri, that same year.

Baden said Floyd was in good health before his death and said the video of his death showed the compression of his neck and back very clearly.

“When he said ‘I can’t breathe,’ unfortunately, many police are under impression that if you can talk that means you’re breathing. That is not true,” he said during the news conference.

Wilson said toxicology reports and other examinations are still ongoing and acknowledged that since they conducted a second autopsy, as the medical examiner had done one previously, they did not have access to Floyd’s tissue samples in their original state.

“We feel those items will not change or alter the cause of death with mechanical asphyxia,” she said.

The medical examiner’s preliminary report, however, said Floyd had “other significant conditions,” including “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, a fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.”

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, identified as the officer who put his knee to Floyd’s neck, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd was heard saying “I can’t breathe,” while the officer had him pinned for nearly nine minutes, according to the criminal complaint.

Three other officers who were involved in the arrest have been fired but haven’t been charged as of Monday afternoon.

The criminal complaint said the official examination of Floyd’s body by the medical examiner is still ongoing, but prosecutors provided some information about this death. This is separate from the independent autopsy requested by Floyd’s family.

The medical examiner’s initial findings were that Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, the complaint said.

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