In a case of questionable timing at best, the top prosecutor in Louisville announced on Tuesday that his office would not bring charges against the police officers and members of the military who gunned down a Black man attending a demonstration peacefully protesting against George Floyd‘s murder. The announcement came as the nation paused to observe the one-year anniversary of the heinous police murder of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Jefferson Commonwealth Attorney Thomas B. Wine confirmed that the Louisville police officers and Kentucky National Guardsmen who killed David “YaYa” McAtee nearly one year ago would not be facing any kind of criminal charges for their roles in a shooting that can only be described as questionable. The shooting was described as justified.
McAtee, 53, was a barbecue chef and restaurant owner in Louisville who had come to be known in part for serving police officers free meals. When he was shot on June 1, none of the body cameras worn by the officers involved were turned on. McAtee’s body reportedly lay in the street for 12 hours.
It was in that context that Wine made his announcement Tuesday, which is both the same day that numerous events were being held to commemorate the life of George Floyd as well as a key deadline set by President Joe Biden that was missed by Congress to pass a sweeping police reform bill that has stalled in the Senate.
Courier-Journal reporter Darcy Costello tweeted that one of the lawyers representing McAtee’s family said he expected at least one criminal charge, not none at all.
“We never anticipated that the commonwealth’s attorney’s office would hold any LMPD officers responsible,” Steve Romines said. “History has shown that doesn’t happen.”
He added: “… The multiple violations of the use of force, use of nonlethal force, the crowd dispersal policies – those are what created the entire situation.” “If it’s in the civil justice system that we have to get justice, we will.”
One doesn’t have to look too far back in history to remember when villainous Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented a dishonest case designed to compel a grand jury against holding any of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing directly accountable for her death.
After McAtee’s shooting, one of his acquaintances told the New York Times he thought the police response would have been different with a group of white protesters.
“If they’d been in another part of town and people were out lounging in a large group like that, would they have rolled up with the National Guard and fired pepper balls, or would they have gone up and talked to people?” David James, a former police officer and the president of the Louisville Metro Council, said. “I have a feeling that the outcome would have been different.”
At the time of McAtee’s shooting, he was reportedly legally armed with a gun that was strapped in a holster on his leg. However, the Courier-Journal reported about “an exchange of gunfire with McAtee that ended with him dying in his kitchen.”
McAtee is one of the hundreds of people of color who have been shot and killed by the police since Floyd’s murder one year ago.
The FBI remains investigating the shooting.
This is America.