The former Louisville police officer who fired pepper balls into a West End barbecue shop just before owner David McAtee was fatally shot by a National Guard member was terminated Feb. 7 for violating department policies. A Professional Standards Unit investigation found Katie Crews violated three policies related to the McAtee incident at 26th Street and West Broadway the night of June 1, 2020: body camera procedures, de-escalation and use of chemical agents, according to the termination letter from LMPD Chief Erika Shields.A separate internal investigation related to a Facebook post in which Crews celebrated a protester being shot by pepper balls found she also violated policies on using social media and police conduct.Crews has appealed her firing to the city's Police Merit Board but requested the hearing be put on hold until federal criminal charges against her are resolved.In the Feb. 16 appeal, her attorney, Kyle Vaughn, wrote the allegations aren't supported by evidence, the penalty is disproportionate and excessive for the offenses and other "similarly situated officers" have been penalized less.More:Former LMPD officer involved in David McAtee shooting now facing federal chargesLast month, Crews was indicted on federal charges for using unreasonable force against McAtee's niece, Machelle McAtee, when police and National Guard members were called to clear the parking lot across the street at Dino's Food Mart.A 9 p.m. curfew was in place because of protests resulting from the police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Crews was the only officer to use force that night McAtee was killed.When most of the LMPD officers and Guard members exited from a line of military transport vehicles that pulled up on West Broadway just after midnight, Crews veered off toward 26th Street and fired pepper balls at people who rushed into McAtee's business where he also lived.Crews stood at close range on the property line firing pepper balls into McAtee's kitchen, hitting his niece several times. McAtee pulled his niece inside and fired twice above his shoulder with a handgun.Two LMPD officers, including Crews and Austin Allen, and two National Guard members returned fire. McAtee was hit in the heart and died almost immediately.In 2021, Commonwealth Attorney Thomas Wine determined that Crews did not violate any state criminal laws.Crews failed to activate her body-worn camera that night and didn't complete a "failure to activate" form, Shields wrote in the termination letter.She also violated the department's policy on the use of chemical agents — in this case the pepper balls — when she used them on a crowd that was "neither disorderly nor aggressive," Shields wrote.Crews also fired pepper balls at McAtee's niece when she didn't pose a threat and was standing in the doorway of private property.She also violated the department's de-escalation policy by failing to give people a chance to respond to her commands before firing the pepper balls, Shields wrote.Minute by minute:What happened the night David McAtee was shot dead by National GuardSocial media incidentBefore the McAtee shooting, Crews posted a Courier Journal photo of a protester handing a flower to Crews, writing a caption that said "I hope the pepper balls that she got lit up with a little later on hurt … Come back and get some more ole girl, I'll be on the line again tonight."Shields in her letter wrote the comment could be construed as promoting violence, therefore violating the policy. The post also "adversely affected, lowered or destroyed" public respect and confidence in the department.Shields wrote that Crews' conduct overall demanded termination and "severely damaged" the department's image. The result of her actions "seriously impedes" the department's goal of providing citizens with a professional law enforcement agency, Shields wrote.Kala Kachmar is an investigative reporter. Reach her at 502-662-2002; firstname.lastname@example.org or @NewsQuip on Twitter. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe.
A former Louisville Metro Police officer at the center of the fatal shooting of West End barbecue stand owner David McAtee has been charged federally with unreasonable use of force in the run-up to his [...]
A Louisville Metro Police officer at the center of the fatal shooting of former West End barbecue stand owner David McAtee is facing federal charges in connection with the night of his death.Katie Crews, who was [...]
LMPD officers confused, frustrated at scene of David McAtee shootingNews Sports Life Opinion USA TODAY Obituaries E-Edition Legals A review of over 1,000 minutes of body camera footage shows LMPD officers were confused, frustrated and fatigued on the night David McAtee was killed.Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier JournalWatch Next © 2021 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.
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