Details emerged of a Kentucky police officer mocking a protester on Facebook days before being involved in the fatal shooting of a Black restaurant owner.
Kentucky restaurateur David McAtee, 53—who owned YaYa's BBQ, in western Louisville—was shot and killed on Monday when local law enforcement and National Guard personnel "returned fire" on a crowd at a parking lot adjacent to McAtee's establishment.
Officer Katie Crews was among the police officers who arrived at the corner of 26th and Broadway to break up a "large crowd" during the nationwide protests.
The demonstrations in Kentucky were precipitated by the police-related deaths of Black civilians, Breonna Taylor—a 26-year-old who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13; and George Floyd—the unarmed man who was murdered by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
Officer Crews—who was put on administrative reassignment on Monday after McAtee's death—had posted a Courier Journalphoto on Thursday of a female protester giving flowers to Crews.
In her Facebook post, Crews wrote:
"She was saying and doing a lot more than 'offering flowers' to me. Just so for it to be known."
"For anyone that knows me and knows that facial expression tells everything."
"I hope the pepper balls that she got lit up with a little later on hurt."
"Come back and get ya some more ole girl, I'll be on the line again tonight."
Twitter users were furious over the unsympathetic officer.
New Police Chief Robert Schroeder said he was aware of Crews' post and launched a professional standards investigation.
The interim Police Chief took over for Louisville Metro Police Department Police Chief Steve Conrad—who was fired by Mayor Greg Fischer.
Conrad, who was slated for retirement by the end of the month, was fired because he was unable to provide footage after Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear demanded them for investigation.
Crews and her fellow LMPD Officer Allen Austin had no footage from the tragic night because they either did not activate their body cams or they stopped recording, which are serious departmental violations.
The Louisville mayor said:
"This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated."
He also said of McAtee's death:
"We lost a wonderful citizen named David McAtee."
"David was a friend to many, a well-known barbecue man."
"They've nurtured so many people in their bellies and in their hearts before, and for him to be caught up in this, not to be with us today, is a tragedy."
According to the LMPD, Crews joined the Department in 2018 and had no prior disciplinary record.
It remains unclear whether or not the first shot authorities reacted to was fired by McAtee—who was revered in the community and known for giving free meals to cops.
McAtee's family told the station:
"He fed all the policemen. Police would go in there and talk with him and be with him. He fed the police. He fed them free."
Authorities also have not indicated if the rounds fired by the LMPD or National Guard troops lead to McAtee's death.