Kentucky police chief sacked after barbecue restaurant owner is shot dead

2 June 2020, 14:27

Riots have erupted in Louisville, Kentucky
Riots have erupted in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

An investigation is under way after a black barbecue owner was shot dead as police responded to reports of gunfire from a crowd in Kentucky.

The police chief of Louisville was sacked yesterday after officers failed to activate body cameras.

Steve Conrad, the chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department was said to be "relieved of his duties".

It follows the shooting of David McAtee, a popular barbecue owner known for offering meals to police officers during the riots.

He was shot on Monday night while police tried to enforce a curfew amid huge protests across the town over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Police say they were responding to gunfire in the crowd when it happened.

The US attorney has said federal authorities and state police will investigate the fatal shooting.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revealed that authorities lacked body camera video for the investigation just hours after Kentucky’s governor demanded the release of police video.

“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said.

“Accordingly, I have relieved Steve Conrad of his duties.”

State Governor Andy Beshear also said the lack of body camera footage was unacceptable.

“This is the entire reason that we have those cameras.”

"And every other officers’ cameras should be reviewed, and if they captured any part of the scene it ought to be released.”

The mayor has also said the city’s curfew was being extended until 8 June.

Some video evidence has been reviewed from the scene however, and shows two Louisville officers and two Guard soldiers returning fire.

Protests and riots across the US have now raged into their seventh day following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after his neck was knelt on by a white officer for almost nine minutes.

An autopsy has declared his death a homicide, "caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain."

Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on his neck, has since been charged with third-degree murder.

Chauvin ignored Mr Floyd's cries of distress, during which he could be heard saying: "I can't breathe."

The other three officers at the scene were, like Chauvin, fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.

Donald Trump seemingly inflamed tensions further last night, by threatening to deploy the US military into states which do not quell the unrest within their borders.

Mr Trump made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden to a backdrop of noisy demonstrations and what appeared to be explosions from outside the building.

Mr Trump called himself "the president of law and order" as he mapped out the historic measures he would introduce to deal with the unrest.

"First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now," he said.

"Today I have recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets."

He continued: "If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

"We cannot allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob."