George Floyd

Another Fatal Police Shooting in Louisville Gets Chief Canned

The officers who shot David McAtee had their body cameras turned off.

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Louisville, Kentucky's police chief is out after Louisville police officers—whose body cameras were not on—shot and killed the owner of a local barbecue food stand early Monday morning.

David McAtee, 53, who ran YaYa's BBQ in Louisville's West End, was among a group of people who were gathered in the late hours in a store parking lot next to McAtee's stand. Both Louisville police and National Guard troops were there to break up the gathering—Louisville had instituted a curfew. The police claim somebody opened fire on them and that they returned fire, striking and killing McAtee.

Nobody has claimed that McAtee was the shooter. In fact, it's not clear if anybody even shot at the police in the first place because the officers on the scene did not have their body cameras on.

Louisville was already dealing with one horrible police scandal—Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in a botched no-knock raid. Officers stormed the home of Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker on March 13 looking for evidence of drug trafficking. The couple, believing they were the victims of a break-in, called 911. Walker shot at the police in the self-defense, the police fired back, and Taylor was shot and killed.

As Reason's Zuri Davis has reported, Louisville police attempted to pin the blame on Walker and arrested him on charges of felonious assault and attempted murder of a police officer. In the wake of that scandal, Police Chief Steve Conrad announced his plans to retire at the end of June.

The fatal police shooting of David McAtee—by officers whose body cameras were turned off—has prompted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to take stronger action against the police chief. The mayor fired Conrad on Monday, a month before Conrad was scheduled to retire. Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder has been put in charge.

McAtee's death is now being investigated by both the Kentucky State Police and the FBI. Schroeder has said there will be "discipline" for the officers who failed to turn on their body cameras.

Police resistance to body cameras may sound like a small story amid the present mayhem, but there is no denying the importance of cameras and other recording devices when it comes to documenting police misconduct. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, where the police used pepper spray against nonviolent protesters, many officers on the scene were not wearing body cameras and also lacked visible badge numbers on their uniforms because such items are not compatible with their riot gear, according to a Columbus police spokesperson.

Early studies suggested that the use of body cameras by the police could lead to less violent encounters between cops and citizens. Of course, those studies assumed that the cameras are turned on in the first place. Other researchers have since come to mixed conclusions, however. In some studies, for example, the use of body cameras resulted in fewer use of force complaints when compared to police departments that didn't use them. But still other studies have found no significant differences in police conduct when body cameras are present.

Even if body cameras are not the solution to the problem of police misconduct, they nevertheless remain a good tool for holding officers accountable for bad behavior and also for exonerating those officers who are unfairly accused. Too bad there is no footage to show us exactly what happened when the police shot David McAtee.

NEXT: Derek Chauvin's Murder Trial Will Be All About 'Reasonableness'

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  1. Letting cops control the cameras was the first mistake.

    1. Second mistake was buying body cameras that were made in China.
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  2. many officers on the scene were not wearing body cameras and also lacked visible badge numbers on their uniforms because such items are not compatible with their riot gear

    I know what else is not compatible with riot gear — being an actual public servant, protecting and serving. But being a corrupt bad cop (but I threepeat myself) is entirely compatible with riot gear.

    1. Do you think that sophomoric trope is any more helpful then the cops actions?

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    2. Let’s say an officer was called to or, hell even a civilian stumbled upon a violent lynching and wanted to protect the innocent, instill order, and bring guilty parties to justice; what do *you* recommend they wear?

      1. Pants.

        1. Sexist!

          1. Women are now allowed to wear pants FYI.

            1. Men walk around all day with their junk all smashed up and sweating because they are not allowed to wear lovely skirts and dresses. But women are the real victims here.

      2. let’s suppose cops are called to monitor a peaceful protest. Let’s suppose the cops have no intention of letting it remain peaceful. What do you suppose they will wear.

        Seriously, there are way too many videos showing peaceful but loud protesters, and cops suddenly start shooting them tear gas everywhere, bean bags, pepper balls, you name it. The cops turn peaceful protests into violence far too often.

        1. Seriously, there are way too many videos showing peaceful but loud protesters, and cops suddenly start shooting them tear gas everywhere, bean bags, pepper balls, you name it. The cops turn peaceful protests into violence far too often.

          This video starts with a mob of people pressing against a line of officers, two people on the ground behind the officers getting arrested, and people throwing things at the arresting officers.

          Again assuming crimes and even mass violence happens, what’s your recommendation? Nobody needs recommendations on how to deal with peaceful protests, how to deal with the problem we’re not having.

          1. Cops certainly do need recommendations on how to deal with peaceful protests, because they turn way too many violent.

            No mass violence starts out violent. Either a mass peaceful protest turns violent by bad policing, or small violent groups coalesce into mass violence.

            1. No mass violence starts out violent.

              small violent groups coalesce into mass violence.

              You seem unaware that even a relatively small group of people, like 4-5 can constitute a ‘mass’.

              Either way, at this point, it’s pretty clear you don’t have any answers and maybe not even the understanding to grasp the problem(s).

  3. So he doesn’t get his pension right?

    Oh wait, he’ll be reinstated with back pay after the Arbitration Hearing.

    1. The top command structure, the Chief of Police and his immediate deputy chiefs, are generally outside the union contract.

  4. Maybe we need to talk up how body cameras also help protect cops against bogus charges and that would increase compliance. As for their power to turn them on and off, I think some sort of system where they have to have dispatch turn them off, say when they go to the bathroom, should be the system. Call dispatch, ask them to turn them off, and then tell dispatch to turn them back on.

    1. Yes, Soldier, I think that is likely why the presence of body cameras has reduced use of force complaints. There are many people who would file a complaint if they thought it might get them out of legal trouble.

      It is a win/win in my book. I don’t really see a reason why you need to disable the camera in a restroom. When you go in, cover the lense with your hand until you get to the stall, and then you are looking at a wall or a stall door.

      1. Just install cop only bathrooms* (next to the trans only ones) with sensors that turn off the cameras when they enter and exit.

        *Hey if I can’t drum up some extra business installing toilets using regulatory capture then I don’t I don’t want to live in this country anymore.

        1. What about trans cops?

          1. They can install bathrooms on city buses.

            Sorry, I thought you wrote “transit” cops.

          2. Trans cop = $$$$$$

      2. I will grant them that privacy, because I would expect the same. That is just human decency. But that would be the only allowable turn off. Also, any arrest or interaction that occurs with the camera off should be immediately investigated by IA.
        Most body cameras also record sound, don’t they? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people recording me taking a shit.

        1. “Also, any arrest or interaction that occurs with the camera off should be immediately investigated by IA.”

          I would go further.

          Any arrest made with the camera off should be presumptively unlawful.

          No cop can testify in court about anything that happened with the camera off, with a possible exception for undercover cops*.

          * only possible, because I’m not certain that they should be allowed to do undercover work.

          1. That would be an excellent policy. It might even come true once enough cops have body cameras that juries expect them.

        2. I’d go more for ‘any arrest while camera and mic is off should be immediately voided,’ instead of letting the cops investigate themselves. Give them some real motivation to hold themselves accountable, if upholding the Constitution and protecting the citizenry is their real goal. With today’s tech, all it takes is a flick of a switch.

          Even if IA are mistrusted by line cops, IA are card-carrying police union members themselves. Police investigating their fellow police hasn’t tended to work very well at all. You ever had to file a complaint with IA? I have, some years ago in Zone 6 in Atlanta. Let me tell you, from the get-go, it was clear they were there to protect their buddies, not hold them accountable.

          I later did some digging on the same cop – a watch NCO at the time – and surprise, he’d been accused of all manner of things, from overcharging (typical) to excessive force and planting evidence (hopefully not so typical) and had many cases tossed as a result. My case was NOT tossed, and from what my attorney told me, he blatantly lied at the grand jury hearing where the accused are not allowed to attend or offer evidence or even defend themselves.

          The justice system is broken. If 24/7 surveillance is “OK”for we average citizens, it’s should be mandatory for those charged with upholding the laws. I’d mandate all enforcers – attorneys, judges, police, jail guards and anyone with the power to take someone’s freedom or life – wear cameras and microphones 24/7 and have a real-time database where the citizenry can watch any of them, on demand. That’s the price of such power. Don’t like it? ‘The world always needs more bartenders,’ to quote the great Alec Baldwin!

      3. Better might be the officer’s option to put the camera in “encipher” mode when he considers himself on break. “Enciphered” video could only be deciphered and viewed with a court order.

        1. That is a good option. But again take the control out of the cops hands, only allow dispatch to put it in encipher mode. I still say any interaction that occurred during that period, IA should investigate, because there is a chance that while taking a shit the cop witnesses a criminal activity band has to respond. They should call it in and have the camera changed back but everyone is human, so we have to allow for some mistakes but have a backup system.

          1. Dispatch are cops. IA are cops. Simply not good enough. And with all due respect, “allow for mistakes?” Next time you deal with them, tell them “I made a mistake, please allow for that” and see how well that works for you.” Taking a job as an enforcer is a voluntary process, and one that is (at times) selective. if you cannot accept accountability, don’t take the job. Or to put it in terms that a cop might use, “don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.”

            1. By mistake I mean that accidents can happen, e.g. forgot to call dispatch when engaging a mass shooter while on a bathroom break. Or something of the sort. As for dispatch being cops, not in every case. And treating cops like the enemy is as stupid as them treating all minorities as the enemy. It is pure counterproductive.

      4. Nope.

        I see no reason at all for a public employee to expect privacy while on the job.

        There are several videos showing cops planting drugs while thinking that the cameras were off, because they were not told that the camera starts recording early and stops recording late.

        Giving a government employee the ‘benefit of the doubt’ is backwards and anti-American. We are to assume a citizen’s innocence unless the govt can prove guilt.

        In court and in the field, everything a government employee says is a lie unless they can prove it. I know of no other way to uphold my oath to the Constitution.

        1. So by presuming their guilt and making them prove innocence you think you are protecting innocence until proven guilty? Tell me that was sarcasm. Because, otherwise you are stating they, also being American citizens, don’t deserve the same Constitutional protections we do. That breaks the oath I swore. Everyone had the same rights. Period.

          1. Public employees while engaged in their assigned duties have no expectation of privacy. I would prefer a system where the cameras were always recording but could be briefly de-activated – potty breaks, lunch, etc.

            Every employee at a CVS or Walgreens operates under mostly similar circumstances – it is all on tape.

            1. That is exactly what I fucking proposed.

              1. Take breath man. I wasn’t arguing with you. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough when I used the term ‘briefly.’ By that I mean much like what you said, but I want a system that automatically comes back on after a short down period, so there can never be an “I forgot to turn it back on” excuse.

      5. ” I don’t really see a reason why you need to disable the camera in a restroom. When you go in, cover the lense with your hand until you get to the stall, and then you are looking at a wall or a stall door.”
        Yeah but the audio could be disturbing.

    2. Just get rid of all the cops and put cameras on every corner.

      Solves not only the policing violence and union problems, but several state budget problems as well.

      Contract video storage and sharing out to a company like Google/Youtube and could possibly even turn a profit.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. There’s a stormfag around who posts that suggestion every now and then.

    3. The cops have done the math on that and they know having the cameras off is a net benefit to them. For every false use of force complaint they’d get out of they’d have 100 convictions for shooting dogs and beating the shit out of handcuffed people.

  5. Earlier I said that if Trump was smart he would announce that any police officer seen in a video engaging in brutality would be immediately arrested on suspicion of committing civil rights violations. If cops have a “malfunction” in their cameras or hide their identity, he should say that he’ll arrest the duty supervisor.

    I am sure that there are plenty of decent cops out there, but there are far, far too many who are taking this as an opportunity to blow off steam against a community of hooligans that they have zero respect for. You cannot watch the video of reporters being shot at by police with rubber bullets, or police cruisers casually heading down the road pepper-spraying people on the sidewalk, without concluding that there are several cops out there who knew that when the glass started breaking, they would get away with any of their violent fantasies.

    1. Trump did order the DoJ to start a civil rights investigation on day one. Very few of the media reported that.

      1. A lot of the media reported it. The problem was that he followed up with an immediate Law and Order double down, which gave the media the cover they needed to say this is all Trump’s fault for supporting the cops. Mind you I don’t think it is Trump’s RESPONSIBILITY to immediately arrest these guys. That is on the police chief and mayors. But, to be generous, they are restricted by their contracts with the Unions.

        Trump, OTOH, is not restricted by the Unions. He could have swooped in there and immediately put every Democrat city on notice that every suspected case of Police Brutality will result in immediate federal detainment for questioning pending investigation. It would have made Police Chief and Mayors’ heads explode. And it would have permanently realigned the battlefield as to who is really willing to help in these race relations.

  6. https://apnews.com/878c149e1107abfcabe762a1c9915ba0

    We need more of this. Accountability will solve 90% of America’s police problem.

    1. On the bodycam video (which is dreadful to watch), it appears that the officer is black. That probably won’t play well.

      But that is why the whole racial angle is overblown. This isn’t about systematic racism. If you think you can protest your way out of racism, you are going to be protesting a long time. But you can have cops accountable for their actions- whether they were motivated by race or not- you can make some changes. Requiring cops to wear cameras, busting the unions, and eliminating QI are all reforms that will improve things whether we abolish racism or not.

      1. “Requiring cops to wear cameras, busting the unions, and eliminating QI are all reforms that will improve things whether we abolish racism or not.”

        As good as all those things would be to do, you don’t even have to do them to accomplish the goal. All you need to do is require cops to carry insurance for this type of thing.

        When a cop misbehaves and there are civil court consequences, his insurance pays that out rather than the taxpayer. If one officer misbehaves enough, no one will be willing to insure him anymore and he’ll effectively become unemployable as a police officer. This takes care of the “repeat offender” issue where they go 1 town over and keep on keeping on, and it also solves the issue where the officer has no skin in the game for civil court.

        If the guy who fixes the pipes at my house is required to carry bond/insurance for his work, the guy who carries a gun and can legally kill people should have to as well. It amazes me that the government can force me to buy health insurance, but cannot force police to carry hazard insurance.

        1. Individual insurance and the end to qualified immunity, yes.

          Fat Mike killing it!

      2. I’d add one more, make cops actually live in the city they work in.

  7. The mayor says he shot first?

    1. George Lucas made some changes.

  8. pepper spray against nonviolent protesters

    Remember the video of the line of kids sitting on the curb at UC Davis and the cop walking down the line of them pepper spraying them all in the face?

    Yeah, this clip isn’t that.

    1. Remember a horde of college age adults encircling a group of officers and, by refusing to let them leave without violence, falsely imprisoned them? Watch the whole video!

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      2. Not sure if you’re referring to the UC Davis or the video above, but the UC Davis kids, the cop steps over them and freely walks the line several times. There was arguably violence going on, but the kids he sprayed were non-violent.

        The above video, OTOH, starts out with people pressed against shields throwing things and getting arrested. There are no people passively sitting on the curb getting sprayed by officers.

  9. The mayor fired Conrad on Monday, a month before Conrad was scheduled to retire.

    Ouch.

    Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder has been put in charge.

    New leadership!

    1. A new apple has been assigned to fix the tree.

  10. But still other studies have found no significant differences in police conduct when body cameras are present.

    Video evidence of misdeeds doesn’t seem to be a major problem for police, the last week notwithstanding.

  11. Louisville has some serious issues. It sounds like they should just sack the entire department there and try building up from ground zero.

  12. What do you expect of Deplorables?

    Oh. Louisville’s Mayor and the majority of the city council are Democrats?

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  13. Need to update this as new video actually shows McAtee shooting at someone, possible police. Another example of the need to wait for more information before responding judgement are made concerning a situation.

      1. Look like he might have been firing into the air, certainly wasn’t making any serious attempt to aim a weapon. But that’s why you only shoot when you mean it. Do be a retarded Joe Biden and try his recommended ‘warning shot.’ You simply cannot depend on people hearing the gunfire to think it’s not a real threat.

        Although, IMO the police are equally responsible since they came in pepper balling people for – at most – a simple curfew violation.

        1. See Biden’s latest one he states that someone with a knife is unarmed and cops should be taught to shoot people in the leg because presumably he thinks you can’t kill someone by shooting them in the leg and it will immediately incapacitate them. Anyone tell him about the femoral artery?

        2. I don’t know. When there is rioting and the police are responding, I don’t think standing outside and shooting warning rounds into the air is that great of an idea.

  14. Antifa, MSM and the police union, are all on the same side.

    This is another distraction from June 4 and another attempt to sway the election.

    The Chief and any cops in trouble for this will never be punished in any meaningful way. Antifa will never be punished in any meaningful way.

    The only punishment dolled out will be to the taxpayers and property owners because that is who the Marxists hate.

  15. You misspelled “got early retirement with full benefits and pension so he can spend more time with his grand kids.” Unless that is another meaning for canned. If so, he got canned, and the tax payers still got fucked.

  16. Cops with cameras off: guilty. It’s an effective solution. And the only one. Rather like open container in the car: driver guilty of DUI. Same thing absolutely.

  17. David McAtee was just another police-protected drug dealer they chose to shoot to send a message to all the others to keep paying, well and promptly. They certainly couldn’t just bust him for dealing drugs. If they did, he’d testify he’d been paying them.
    We certainly can’t have that. Have to kill him, just like all the others. The others will get the me$$age.

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