Early Monday morning, David McAtee, a Black restaurant owner in Louisville, was shot and killed after someone in a group he was standing near reportedly fired a shot at police and National Guard members working to enforce a curfew, who then returned fire, according to media reports. As of midday Monday, it remained unclear who fired toward law enforcement, the Associated Press reported. Governor Andy Beshear has authorized the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the shooting.
The shooting came amid continuing protests in Louisville over the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot in her home by police in March. Her death and the police killing of George Floyd have spurred protests across the country.
Black residents make up less than 25 percent of the population in Louisville, but are disproportionately impacted by police use of force. Since 2015, Black people were the victims of 41 percent of fatal shootings by police in Louisville. In Kentucky, 93 people have been fatally shot by on-duty police officers since 2015.
Reporting by The Guardian has shown that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to the Washington Post, Black Americans are shot and killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans.
Louisville has robust policies around use of force, and more reforms have been announced in the wake of Taylor’s death. Like all such policies, accountability and enforcement are critical to achieving community trust. Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
Information about gun violence in Kentucky is available here. Community-based groups and violence intervention advocates have been working to support those impacted by this tragic reality, amd more about local gun violence intervention groups can be found here. Press is encouraged to reach out to these groups for more information.