Family, Friends Mourn David McAtee At Wake Friday, Jun 12 2020 

89.3 WFPL News Louisville · Family, Friends Mourn David McAtee At WakeFamily, friends and acquaintances lined the sidewalk outside St. Stephen Church Friday afternoon to pay their respects to David “Yaya” McAtee. McAtee was a Black barbecue chef who was shot and killed by a member of the National Guard last week as authorities tried to enforce a curfew during protests over racism and police brutality.

At the door of St. Stephen Church, people were let in one-by-one to pay their respects, after having their temperature checked to screen for the coronavirus. In line was Calvin Brown, who used to visit McAtee’s shop, Yaya’s BBQ. He said McAtee was a role model for people in this West End neighborhood, where many residents grapple with poverty.

“Even if you had a record, you could still look at David McAtee and say ‘I could do what you doing,'” Brown said.

Brown said McAtee made a business, and a neighborhood institution, out of very little.

“It was a barbecue grill, a bag of charcoal and some meat. And people supported him and felt the love that he shared,” he said.

McAtee was known for giving free food to the homeless, as well as to the police.

It’s still unclear exactly what happened the night he died. According to video shared by police, National Guard and officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department (LPMD) arrived at the corner of 26th Street and Broadway to enforce the curfew. Soon after authorities arrived, LMPD officers began shooting pepper balls. State investigators say McAtee fired his gun, and that when police and National Guard returned fire with live rounds, a National Guard bullet struck his chest, killing him.

McAtee’s nephew, Marvin McAtee, has said he doesn’t think his uncle would ever knowingly shoot at police. On Friday, he said he doesn’t know what justice would look like for his uncle, but he’s upset the family hasn’t gotten an apology.

“There’s no justice for me because that don’t bring him back,” Marvin McAtee said.

“I can’t change what happened that day. All I can do is tell the police I just wish they came and said they sorry for what happened, because we was there for them.”

J. Tyler Franklin |

Friends and family also gathered at Yaya’s BBQ during the wake on Friday.

Marvin has inherited the barbecue shop. And he said he’s trying his best to carry on his uncle’s legacy. It helps that he can still feel his uncle’s presence.

“A couple days ago, I was doing things at the shop, and then I paused for a minute because I hear him saying to me ‘You know you ain’t doing that right,'” he said.

“I love that energy in that shop because he’s there with me. You know? I don’t even know how to explain it to you. I just feel him in me when I’m in the shop.”

Marvin and his family went inside the chapel, where McAtee’s body was dressed in a white suit, in a gold and black coffin and surrounded by flowers.

Later, the family planned to go back to Yaya’s BBQ for another celebration of the man they loved.

The funeral for David McAtee is Saturday, Jun. 13 at 1 p.m. at Canaan Christian Church.

Gov. Beshear Says He Will ‘Reduce’ National Guard In Louisville Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

In the wake of the death of 53-year-old David McAtee, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced he’s “reducing the National Guard presence in Louisville.” 

“I want to ensure the people of Kentucky know I’m listening,” Beshear said during his daily briefing, adding that was a recommendation by the state’s adjutant general.

Beshear said he understands that there’s a “real sensitivity” to having them here, but that he stands by his decision to call them in. 

“I believe that the Guard has been necessary, that there was a potential, especially going into Saturday night, where there were some real concerns and information out there,” he said. “I call them in solely to try to ensure that people are safe.”

Beshear said he’s approved a critical incident response team from Kentucky State Police — a unit that looks into police shootings around the state — to investigate the Monday shooting  at 26th and Broadway. During the incident, McAtee was fired at by Louisville Metro Police and the National Guard. McAtee died at the scene.

“I’ve told them that it must be fast, and it must be thorough,” Beshear said of KSP’s investigation.

LMPD on Tuesday released surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting that they say shows McAtee fired at officers first. There’s no police body cam footage because the officers involved in the shooting did not have their cameras turned on. 

Beshear called for the release of any and all footage connected to McAtee’s death. 

“And I said yesterday, there ought to be body cam footage,” Beshear said. “But any footage ought to be released so that people can watch it, and people can see with their own eyes and make determinations.”

One reporter asked him what kind of changes he would make to policing procedures. Beshear responded by saying that “we shouldn’t accept a world where we know that people feel unsafe around those who are hired to keep us all safe.” 

“I believe we’ve got to look at all of the concerns that are there… and when something happens, like it did in Louisville to Breonna Taylor, like it did in Minnesota [to George Floyd], you got to look at policies, you got to look at changing things,” he said. “If a tragedy happens, you’ve got to learn from it. You can’t repeat it.”

Though Beshear didn’t offer any specifics on what exactly he would change.

Later in the briefing, he said he hopes they can fully pull the National Guard out of Louisville in the near future.

Preliminary Findings On McAtee Death

The secretary of the governor’s Executive Cabinet, J. Michael Brown, shared some preliminary details from the investigation into McAtee’s death. 

“First results of an autopsy seemed to indicate that Mr. McAtee succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the chest,” Brown said. “But tests on bullet fragments will have to be conducted at the Kentucky State Police crime lab to see if we can determine exactly what type of bullet he was struck by.” 

He said they believe that Louisville police and the National Guard fired 18 shots. 

Approximately 13 people, who were near McAtee when he was shot, have been interviewed, Brown said, and investigators have taken gunshot residue samples. 

“None of these results are back yet,” he said. “They’re all very new and they were all preliminarily interviewed.”

They recovered “a total of seven weapons, six handguns, one shotgun.”

“We are going to look to see which, if any, of them have been discharged,” Brown said. “We clearly believe at least one of them was discharged and [will] try to match up those weapons with any of the shell casings that were found in the facility.”

Brown said surveillance videos released Tuesday by LMPD with also be reviewed by state police.

“That review will continue in great detail, frame by frame, to further get a better indication of exactly what the sequence of events, and in fact, we hope to go through a very laborious practice of trying to match up those videos with any other videos that were done either by civilian or security cameras,“ he said. 

Brown said they’ll release updates “as appropriate” since the investigation is ongoing. 

Pepper Balls Downtown, Live Rounds In West End? Why National Guard Was Armed Monday, Jun 1 2020 

On Monday morning, in the wake of law enforcement fatally shooting David McAtee, there was a common refrain among mourners: why are they using pepper balls downtown and real bullets in the West End?

Officials said the 400 Kentucky National Guard members deployed to Louisville are authorized to fire lethal weapons, like the ones that were fired upon David McAtee early Monday morning, when faced with an immediate threat. Though the CAR-15 carried by guardsmen are generally not loaded, members do carry ammunition. 

“Weapons that the Guardsmen are carrying are in self defense of imminent danger of life, limb or eyesight,” Maj. Stephen Martin, the director of the Kentucky National Guard’s Public Affairs Office said.

Martin said he would need to confirm whether the Guard members are also equipped with the non-lethal weapons carried and utilized by other law enforcement in Louisville.

The mayor extended the city’s curfew through June 8, raising the possibility the National Guard may be in the city through the week.

Until Sunday night, non-lethal weapons such as teargas and pepper balls were used in response to protesters throughout the city, though LMPD officers are armed as usual. On Saturday night, when several shots were fired at LMPD officers during a protest at Ninth Street and Broadway, the officers did not return fire and used non-lethal weapons.

That changed when members of the Louisville Metro Police Department and Kentucky National Guard shot and killed David McAtee outside a gas station at 26th and Broadway. Two Louisville officers and two National Guard members fired.

Officials including Gov. Andy Beshear and LMPD have said that law enforcement was fired on first. It’s unclear who might have fired, but no officials have suggested it had anything to do with McAtee, 53, who sold barbecue at the intersection. Mayor Greg Fischer described McAtee as a person who “got caught up” in the shooting.

LMPD’s body cameras were not turned on, a realization that led Fischer to fire the police chief and the acting chief to promise discipline, and that means no official footage is available showing exactly what occurred. Facebook live footage from the scene and audio show a single shot fired before LMPD and National Guard open fire. 

“My understanding, at least by protocol is that showing up at the scene, they are not loaded and after the shooting occurred in order to protect themselves and address the situation, that’s the point when that happened,” Beshear said in a press conference on June 1.

Brigadier General Hal Lamberton, Adjutant General of the Kentucky National Guard, said in the same press conference that most of the members of the guard currently deployed to Louisville are part of the National Guard Reaction Force, which undergoes training and weapons requirements specific to the assignment of dealing with civil unrest. KyCIR has asked for more details on those training requirements, but the National Guard has not yet responded.

About 17,000 national guard troops have been deployed to 23 states and the District of Columbia in response to this weekend’s unrest, according to the Military Times. In Minnesota, the Adjutant General for Minnesota’s National Guard told reporters troops were carrying rifles, sidearms and ammunition after the FBI reported a “credible threat” made directly towards Guard members.

This story has been corrected to note the number of National Guard members who fired their weapons.

Beshear announces how he’s helping residents affected by COVID-19 Thursday, Apr 2 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Gov. Andy Beshear announced in his daily press conference April 1 action his office is taking to help the groups most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

These announcements included the deployment of the Kentucky National Guard to help distribute food to those in need and expanding the capacity of the unemployment claims call center.

The National Guard will be sent to four food banks in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Lexington and Wilder.

“This support for Kentucky’s food banks will help our community members continue to receive food and pantry items that they desperately need,” said Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky’s Adjutant General.

National members will help sort, package and deliver food to senior citizens, families and displaced workers who are affected by the outbreak.

Beshear has previously expanded access to unemployment insurance. The surge in unemployment comes after Beshear shut down non-essential businesses in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Beshear said at the press conference they are working on solving the issues caused by an increase in unemployment claims. Because of this increase in unemployment claims, the state’s unemployment call center has increased its capacity.

The center has gone from receiving about 1,500 calls per day to receiving anywhere from 80,000 to 200,000 calls per day, according to Josh Benton, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Those who are interested in helping Kentucky residents affected by the outbreak can donate to the Team Kentucky fund that Beshear has established.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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