The family of David McAtee has filed a lawsuit against Louisville Police and the National Guard after his shooting death in June.
A Kentucky family seeks justice after their loved-one died from a shooting at the hands of law enforcement.
USA Today reports David “YaYa” McAtee died June 1 from a single bullet wound to the chest fired by an unnamed guard member. The shooting occurred as the Louisville Metro Police and the Kentucky National Guard responded to protests demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. McAtee, a 53-year-old restaurant owner, was fatally wounded in his kitchen during the violent exchange.
According to the news outlet, attorneys representing the McAtee family claimed the overuse of force and missteps by officers and soldiers, including violating department policies and direct orders, resulted in the death of their loved one in a lawsuit filed on Monday. The police officials said evidence showed that the victim fired at least two rounds from a 9mm handgun and that two guard members and two police officers fired at least 19 shots in response. The two officers are identified as Katie Crews and Austin Allen.
Steve Romines, a Louisville civil rights attorney, informed USA Today one reason for the lawsuit is the family has not been able to get clear answers on the guard’s role, policies, and chain of command that night. The weekend in question, protests across the city resulted in Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear deploying the National Guard for the first time in decades. Romines told the news platform any reports of unrest near the area of the shooting are false.
“They’re lies,” Romines said to USA Today. “Any hope of change, voluntary change is just that — hope.”
A “police raid” carried out across the street at a Dino’s Food Mart lead to the disruption. On the night of the shooting, McAtee fired back after several people rushed to his property after being targeted with pepper balls, chemical, and projectile weapons at the hands of law enforcement and national guard soldiers. According to USA Today, McAtee was uninformed of the events unfolding at the Dino’s across the street from his property.
“From inside the kitchen, Maychelle McAtee and David McAtee did not know that the persons firing (pepper balls) at the restaurant were law enforcement officers,” the lawsuit stated according to the news outlet.
USA Today reports officer Crews wandered away from her peers taking a different route and was seen on camera walking towards the property line and shooting pepper balls onto David McAtee’s property, including inside of the kitchen. Maychelle McAtee, the victim’s niece was hit three times by the pepper balls. She is a plaintiff alongside his mother Odessa Riley.
Listed in the lawsuit are unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, assault on McAtee and his niece, excessive use of force, negligence, trespassing, and emotional distress according to USA Today.
The complaint also detailed how the cops and guard violated LMPD’s standard operating procedures for crowd dispersal by not identifying themselves by name and rank, not issuing a dispersal order, not giving people a reasonable amount of time to disperse, and not warning people before the use of any chemical agent, USA Today reports.
Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer told the news website the lawsuit is being reviewed. The Governor offered USA Today no comment. J. Michael Brown, Beshear’s Executive Cabinet secretary, said nothing exists to suggest a significant difference between the findings and what had been preliminarily determined by police based on surveillance video claiming the shooting was justified.
The news of this lawsuit comes shortly after the family of Taylor was awarded $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville. theGrio reported despite the settlement and the passing of an ordinance titled “Breonna’s Law,” which banned no-knock warrants, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has yet to announce whether charges will be filed against the three officers involved.
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