A Louisville restaurant owner known for feeding police for free was killed by authorities — and his body was reportedly left on the street for 12 hours

bpietsch@businessinsider.com (Bryan Pietsch)
People reenact the pinning down of George Floyd during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 29.

REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

  • David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed during a protest on Monday.
  • McAtee was known in the community for giving food away, including to police officers, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
  • McAtee was killed after police and Kentucky National Guard members were fired upon and they returned fire, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.
  • Locals expressed anger over reports that his body was left on the street for 12 hours after the shooting. 
  • Beshear called for an investigation and said body-camera footage should be released by Monday evening. 
  • Later on Monday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the police involved in the shooting did not have their body cameras on and that the police chief had been fired.
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David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed after police and National Guard members opened fire at a protest over the death of George Floyd.

McAtee was the owner of YaYa's BBQ, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. He was known as a "community pillar," his mother, Odessa Riley, told the paper.

McAtee, who was 53, often gave food to the community for free, including police officers. "He fed them free," Riley told the paper. "He fed the police and didn't charge them nothing."

McAtee died early Monday morning after police and the Kentucky National Guard were sent to disperse a crowd in the city, where protests have continued over the death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Police said they were shot at and that they and National Guard members returned fire, which resulted in McAtee's death, according to a statement from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Members of the community were especially angered by reports that his body was left on the street for 12 hours after the killing. The shooting occurred shortly after midnight, and his body appeared to be removed from the scene after noon later that day, according to WFPL, a local radio news station.

Beshear on Monday called for an investigation into the shooting and said body-camera footage should be released by Monday evening, acknowledging that people may not trust claims made by police over what happened. "I'm not asking people to trust our account," Beshear said.

But later on Monday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that the police did not have their body cameras turned on.

The police chief, Steve Conrad, has been fired, Fischer said, according to the Courier Journal. Disciplinary action for the officers involved is forthcoming, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

McAtee's death comes as police have escalated protests across the country, sometimes turning violent toward unarmed and peaceful protesters. Police in New York rammed cars into a group of protesters and law-enforcement officers around the country have shot nonlethal bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas at protesters, bystanders, and journalists. A police officer was seen in Salt Lake City shoving an elderly person with a cane to the ground.

Protests have erupted across the country and in some nations around the world over the killing of Floyd, who died after a police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes.

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