Monday — Conrad Fired; Officers in McAtee Shooting on Leave

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PHOTO: Matt Stone
from Louisville Metro:
Rob Schroeder as acting Police Chief; extends curfew order, National Guard assistance
 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 1, 2020) – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that he has fired Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.

In addition, the Mayor announced that two Louisville Metro Police Officers who fired their weapons in the Monday morning shooting of David McAtee in an incident at 26th and Broadway have been placed on administrative leave because they either failed to have their body cameras turned on or wear them, which is a violation of police policy – “and an especially grievous error at a time of such heightened focus on police activities.”

Chief Conrad had previously announced plans to retire next month, but Mayor Fischer said it has become clear in recent days that the city could not wait for a change in leadership. Effective immediately, Col.Robert Schroeder will be Acting Chief, while a national search is done for a permanent chief.

“An immediate change in leadership is required,” said Mayor Fischer, adding that Schroeder will report to Amy Hess, a former high-ranking FBI official who is the city’s Chief of Public Safety.   He also said a national search for a permanent chief will begin soon.

In lieu of body camera video, LMPD released video from the department’s Real Time Crime Center and audio from MetroSafe related to this morning’s event. 

Chief Schroeder said the LMPD Public Integrity Unit is conducting an investigation into this morning’s event; and the Kentucky State Police will be conducting an independent oversight investigation alongside that investigation. The National Guard will also be conducting its own review of its members actions in last night’s incident. “I strongly welcome these external investigations,” the Mayor said, “and will support them in any way possible.”

Mayor Fischer announced that the curfew in place from 9 pm-6:30 am has been extended through Monday, June 8, and urged people to protest peacefully and lawfully.  ” The Mayor also thanked Governor Andy Beshear for extending the assistance of the National Guard and the Kentucky State Police.

The Mayor was joined during today’s briefing by state Rep. Charles Booker, who in part outlined the challenges that current state law presents in firing police officers, and then commented on the shooting of Mr. McAtee.

“Our community is devastated yet again. Not only are we fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, but we have lost another treasured Louisvillian, Mr. David McAtee,” Booker said. “While we demand accountability and know that structural and policy changes must be made, I am committed to standing with the people of our city to build trust and a path forward. In the midst of our pain today, a powerful display of unity was shown as officers put down their weapons and the community locked arms. Let’s build on that, demand justice and heal together.”

Earlier today, during a virtual Day of Reflection to remember the victims of COVID-19 and reflect on recent events, the Mayor said he understands that the steps he’s taken – including suspension of no-knock warrants, a requirement that all officers have body cameras and working to establish a civilian review board with subpoena powers – will not resolve the frustration and concern that residents are feeling.

“Our community is grieving on multiple levels right now – and our African American brothers and sisters are struggling with a particular form of grief that has tragically been passed down from generation to generation for far too long,” the Mayor said. “We can no longer wait on processes to wrap up, when we’ve given people no reason to trust the process. We have to act.”

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