The police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, was fired on Monday, June 1, after the mayor learned that officers involved in a shooting that killed the owner of a popular barbecue restaurant had failed to activate their body cameras during the incident. Moreover, the building with close-up footage of the incident has suspiciously burned down, fueling speculation that video evidence of the shooting may have been intentionally destroyed.
Fatal Shooting of Restaurant Owner
David McAtee, the owner of YaYa's BBQ, was shot and killed at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Monday near his restaurant during clashes between law enforcement and civilians amid protests over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed after being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer with his knee over his neck.
Police claim they were responding to gunfire from a crowd when McAtee was shot. The incident is under investigation by state and local police, as well as federal authorities.
Police Chief Had Already Resigned
Steve Conrad, chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was "relieved of his duties" on Monday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said on Monday. However, Conrad had already announced his resignation last month in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot multiple times when three LMPD officers entered her apartment by force to serve a search warrant in a narcotics investigation. Conrad's resignation was due to come into effect on June 30.
Officers Involved Failed to Activate Bodycams
Fischer added that authorities lacked body camera video for the investigation just hours after the governor demanded the release of police video so that "the people of Kentucky can decide whether this was justified or whether it is cause for more concern."
Two police officers involved in the shooting violated policy by not wearing or activating body cameras and have been placed on administrative leave, according to Robert Schroeder, who has now stepped in as acting police chief following Conrad's firing.
He added that although there is video footage of the shooting, it is taken from a distance and "clearly shows the officers reacting to gunfire."
Mysterious Fire at Dino's Food Mart
An establishment located next to McAtee's barbecue business, Dino's Food Mart, where McAtee was shot, mysteriously caught fire on Monday and it is not yet clear what started the blaze.
According to a Twitter user, the fire allegedly destroyed all the video footage from the surveillance cameras, which would have certainly captured McAtee's "murder." The user also noted that there were no protests or protesters anywhere near the food mart and the police was trying to "cover up" the killing.
"Theory: #DavidMcAtee died early morning in the parking lot of Dino's.. all of the officers had their body cams turned off. Tonight, an AC unit on the roof of dino's caught fire.. destroying all video footage from the security cameras. Who do you think was involved? Cops," tweeted another user.