FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Louisville police officers not having their body cameras on during a fatal shooting early Monday morning “shouldn’t have happened” and warrants a swift and thorough investigation of all the circumstances, Gov. Andy Beshear vowed Monday.
“I’m upset about it,” Beshear said of the fact many of the Louisville officers involved in the shooting of David McAtee didn’t have their body cameras on.
“I had hoped it would be something as simple as pulling the body camera footage so it would see what they were seeing and they were feeling. It is unacceptable the officers involved last night didn’t have them on and recording,” the governor said during a late afternoon press conference.
It marked the second time Louisville officers didn’t have their body cameras on. The other was when Breonna Taylor was killed earlier this year.
That fact, and other issues, resulted in the firing of Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad, Monday afternoon.
“Enough is enough and I agree,” Beshear said of the action.
Beshear has ordered the Kentucky State Police to investigate the shooting, including interviews, ballistics and any available video available and produce a quick response.
It should be done in an “honest and transparent way that won’t take months,” Beshear said, referencing the fact the family of Breonna Taylor, the paramedic who was shot earlier this year during a botched drug raid, has been told the investigation in that case could take months longer.
Her death, along with the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, along with other instances, have sparked protests and rallies, some which have turned violent or at least tumultuous, across the country.
“People are upset and they should be,” Beshear said, referencing not only the incidents but a history of racial tensions that persist in the country.
“I hope for real societal change, not a time when we think it is going t happen but a tome when it actually does happen,” he said of the broader issues at stake, promising to do his part to try to “usher in real societal change.”
“Hard work lies in front of us. If this doesn’t wake us up, I don’t know what will.”
The governor asked for demonstrators to remain safe and peaceful when they take to the streets tonight, even with curfews in place.
“We are going to respond better, we will give you the truth, no matter what it makes any group look like, just the truth,” he stated.
“We don’t want anyone else to be hurt, we know tensions are high…we didn’t want to see anyone else hurt, don’t want this to turn into the things we’ve seen in other places or in the past.”
Louisville Police officers, accompanied by some Kentucky National Guard members, were called to a West Louisville neighborhood shortly after midnight Monday, which was just past the midnight curfew, to disperse a crowd that had gathered at a market a small commercial area.
At some point, police say shots were fired at the officers and they returned fire, resulting in McAtee’s death. Residents of the neighborhood said police didn’t need to be called because people gathered at the corner every weekend to listen to music and “hang out.”
Beshear said the role of the Guard has been analyzed.
“There will be different parameters going forward, some different monitoring,” Beshear said. “There will be some different instructions going forward.
The National Guard members who fired their weapons have been taken off duty, Beshear noted.
“There are legitimate questions going forward about the Guard being part of that response,” Beshear said, noting the Guard will have some restrictions about where they are assigned.