The family of a Black man who was fatally shot by the National Guard during protests in Louisville, Kentucky, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
On June 1, David “Ya Ya” McAtee, 53, was killed as he stood in the doorway of his barbecue stand. He suffered one bullet to the chest as police and National Guard officers came in to break up a group that had violated curfew just after midnight.
The National Guard soldier who shot him has not been identified. But, the family is still moving ahead with a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the soldiers used excessive force and violated police policies.
McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley, and niece Machelle McAtee were also hit with pepper balls while there. They are suing two individual police officers and members of the Kentucky National Guard, according to WFPL.
“Unaware of what was causing the chaos and who was shooting at his customers and his niece, David McAtee stepped out of the kitchen door to try and defend his restaurant, home, family and customers,” the lawsuit states, according to WDRB television.
Authorities say their investigation has revealed that McAtee fired a handgun at least twice, which prompted two Guard soldiers and two police officers to respond with 19 rounds of gunfire. However, authorities say McAtee could’ve been firing as a warning.
The family is seeking punitive damages for excessive use of force, negligence, trespassing, and emotional distress.