Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Steve Conrad was fired on Monday, June 1, after it was revealed that officers involved in the shooting of a local business owner during protests over George Floyd’s death earlier in the day did not have their body cameras activated. Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, confirmed Conrad’s ouster during a press conference on Monday afternoon and said such "institutional failure" was beyond tolerance. Conrad was due to retire on July 1.
Louisville police personnel are required to wear active body cameras since the death of Breonna Taylor — a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician who died in police firing at her residence on March 13. The incident happened when the cops had a "no-knock warrant". On Sunday, May 31, Louisville witnessed the fourth consecutive night of widespread protests that intensified over the weekend. In the wee hours of Monday, LMPD and National Guard personnel were called to reach the area of 26th and Broadway to disperse a big crowd that assembled near Yaya’s BBQ Shack. According to LMPD sources, the police and protesters reportedly exchanged fire in which a 53-year-old popular black restaurant owner — David McAtee — died. He was lovingly called ‘the BBQ man’ locally.
"Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both LMPF and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene," Conrad said in a statement after the clash. An emotional Fischer appeared at the press meet later in the day to concede the officers were not wearing active body cameras to record the shooting. "That lack of institutional failure will not be tolerated," Fischer said as he confirmed Conrad’s termination which came into effect immediately. Robert Schroeder will serve as the interim chief of the LMPD. He also said the cops’ conduct without active cameras were not acceptable. "There is no excuse for their clear failure to (follow) our policy," he said. Two officers who were involved in the shooting without wearing the cameras were also sent to administrative leave. Metro Council President David James also reacted to the incident on Monday, saying: "I am saddened that it took this much calamity in our city to remove the chief of police."
More than 40 arrested in a single day in Louisville
Protests turned intense in Louisville over the brutal death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police on May 25 and several parts of the country saw violence spreading like wildfire. Floyd died after a cop forced his knee against his neck after the 46-year-old man was handcuffed and pinned to the ground for eight minutes. The agonizing death sparked protests after a video of the incident went viral on social media. More than 40 people were arrested on Sunday alone. Protesters also slammed the police over the March killing of Taylor during Sunday’s demonstrations. Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the woman and her boyfriend thought that their home was being invaded when cops entered without knocking. As the duo shot at the officers without identifying them, the police counter fired and killed Taylor. The protesters also slammed the death of McAtee, who his veteran mother Odessa Riley called a "community pillar".