The nationwide protests and riots against police brutality have been met largely with more police brutality over the past few days. The countless incidences of wanton cruelty and shocking violence from police officers in every city — including a consistent and deeply alarming pattern of targeting reporters and journalists — have made the protesters’ anger all the more justified.
Those tensions are unlikely to abate following the murder of yet another Black man at the hands of a trigger-happy and unrestrained police force. David McAtee, 53 years old, was shot and killed early this morning after police and National Guard opened fire this morning on a crowd outside of a Dino’s Food Mart.
Police say that someone in the crowd opened fire on the cops and Guardsmen and they “returned fire,” hitting and killing McAtee. Unconfirmed reports say his body was left in the street for over twelve hours.
No police or National Guardsmen were injured.
McAtee owned the barbeque stand right next to the Dino’s and was well known for giving the police free meals as well as his work feeding the homeless. His mother, Odessa Riley, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that her son was a “pillar of the community” and “left a great legend behind. He was a good person. Everybody around him would say that. My son didn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do nothing to nobody.”
"My son didn't hurt nobody. . . Like I said earlier, he fed all @LMPD. The police would come up to his shop and talk to him and be with him. He fed the police. He fed them free. He fed the police and didn't charge them nothing. My son was a good son." — Odessa Riley #DavidMcAtee pic.twitter.com/qbsUYT2JFv
— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) June 1, 2020
“He was one of the ones who would donate all his time and all his food, everybody could just come up and take it and he wouldn’t charge because it was for the neighborhood…Mr. McAtee’s legacy is something that cannot be duplicated or replaced…There are only a handful of people who care about the community the way that he did,” said Middletown resident Greg Cotton Jr.
His death is yet another outrage by the Louisville Police, who just a few months ago brutally gunned down EMT nurse Breonna Taylor as she slept in her bed and arrested her boyfriend, who thought he was firing at burglars after the cops broke into their house with a no-knock warrant.
Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered an investigation into the shooting and urged the release of the bodycam footage as soon as possible.
The killing of David McAtee is yet another tragic, horrifying reminder of why the protests are taking place and why so much enmity is being leveled against police forces who claim to “protect and serve” their communities but murder upstanding Black citizens on a regular basis.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.