Dave DeCamp shares the tragic story of David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue restaurant in Louisville who was killed by National Guard troops during a recent night of protests. McAtee was cooking for a group of friends and customers several miles away from the nearest crowds of protesters, but the police showed up to enforce the city’s new curfew nonetheless. A small crowd began to rush toward McAtee’s restaurant, and thinking that it may have been looters, McAtee retrieved the gun he legally owned, possibly firing into the air as a warning. Some National Guard troops accompanying the police then immediately opened fire on McAtee, killing him with a live round through the chest. It is another senseless tragedy for a city still mourning the death of Breonna Taylor.
Discussed on the show:
- “The Danger of Sending in the Troops: The Killing of David McAtee” (Antiwar.com Original)
- “UHF (1989)” (IMDb)
- “Breonna Taylor Was Always Essential” (Rolling Stone)
- “82nd Paratroopers Forward Deployed near Washington DC” (Connecting Vets)
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
The following is an automatically generated transcript.
All right, shall welcome and Scott Horton show. I am the director of the libertarian Institute editorial director of anti war.com, author of the book fool’s errand, time to end the war in Afghanistan. And I’ve recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003, all of which are available at Scott horton.org. You can also sign up to the podcast feed full archive is also firstname.lastname@example.org. Slash Scott Horton show. All right, you guys introducing Dave DeCamp assistant news editor at antiwar.com. And he writes opinion pieces too. So that’s news.antiwar.com and original.antiwar.com. And this here piece is called the danger of sending in the troops The killing of David Mcatee. So how you say it. Welcome back to the show, Dave. How you doing, man?
Dave DeCamp 1:07
Good Scott. Thanks for having me back.
Scott Horton 1:08
How do you say the guy’s name?
Dave DeCamp 1:10
Scott Horton 1:11
Mcatee. Okay, good. I guess you guys know, it’s just MC not m AC. So I wasn’t sure if it’s, you know, McDonald’s or McDonald’s, you know, like the burger or the comedian. Anyway. Yeah. The danger of sending in the troops. The troops killed this guy. The barbecue. Spot owner there in the protests in Louisville, Kentucky. Is that right?
Dave DeCamp 1:38
Yeah. What he wasn’t participating in any protest. But yeah, he’s a bar. He was a barbecue restaurant owner in Louisville.
Scott Horton 1:46
Right. So zoom all the way out and tell me the entire story.
Dave DeCamp 1:50
Yes, so this was early in the morning on June 1, just after midnight. On a Sunday night, late Sunday night and the cops the national Guard deployed to a neighborhood which was apparently miles away from any protests according to all the reports I’ve read on this, and they start breaking up a crowd at Dino’s food Mart, which is across from yas barbecue, which is the name of Mcatee’s restaurant. And then the surveillance video released by the cops. They released very little. But it shows that a few cops will go across the street to the barbecue restaurant we’ll see where some people are hanging out outside and they start firing pepper balls into the crowd. And the crowd starts running into the barbecue restaurant, which is where David Mcatee was at the time. The surveillance video showed him like just a minute before the cops showed up. He was outside tending to his grills. He goes inside inside is him and his nephew Marvin and then all of a sudden they release surveillance video from inside the shop to and that shows a crowd rushing in You see David trying to push his way to the door and the cops continue to fire the pepper balls at the crowd. I get them going inside the barbecue restaurant wasn’t enough for them I guess. And one of the last people to come through the door is Mcatee’s niece and she gets hit. The cops say the pepper ball like hit the doors, but the witnesses say that she was actually hit in the shoulder by a pepper ball. And then you see as David the store owner gets to the to the door. He he has a gun holster. He’s a gun owner. It looks like he reaches for it and puts his arm straight up in the air and kind of pierce through the doorway. And that’s when the cops claiming fired shot and then he kind of leans back in and then he creeps out again later and the cops in the National Guard unload 18 rounds. And one bullet from a National Guard rifle hit him hit David in the chest and killed him. So yeah, that’s the story and I thought it was important to highlight because these cops and National Guard soldiers, they were on the other side of town from any looting or writing or any protests. And the only reason that they were there to break up the crowd was because of the curfew, because a lot of major cities across the country enact these curfews. So they initiated the whole situation. It’s not it’s not getting too much attention. I think maybe because it does look like Mcatee fired his gun at first. But from his perspective, you know, he thought maybe his nephew who was in there with me at the time said they thought they were getting looted maybe. So yeah, it’s just a it’s just a shame. He was shot down in the doorway of his business and his and his home. He lived in the basement. In other
Scott Horton 4:49
words, the thing about him possibly thinking he was being looted. You’re saying because everyone was running in he didn’t realize they were being cleared by the law. He just knew the day We’re running afraid from something happening outside. So he went to go and protect them basically.
Dave DeCamp 5:05
Yeah, that’s what that’s what it looks like. And this all happened within under a minute. And his nephew has said that people were rushing into his basement apartment. And most a lot of them were strangers that they didn’t know him. So they kind of you know, so there was a panic. And another thing about David mcatee that a lot of the news stories said was that he was a, you know, he was loved by the community, everybody. There’s a lot of kind words for him after he died. He was very generous. But he was also friends the local cops like he would feed them for free. They said he would like refuse to take their money. They don’t have to throw it down on the counter when he turns back. And in one of the interviews his nephew even said a few days before this incident, one of his friends that was a cop was in the in the restaurants advising him to get it get a gun or carry his gun because there’s been some little You know associated with the protests and he’s a small business owner and to protect himself and after he was killed one of somebody who was real close with them who was a cop Louisville PD you know made a real heartfelt Facebook post about it so it just shows he was a community you know he was he wasn’t he wasn’t even a protest it that’s what’s so that’s what’s so horrible about it is that he was just doing his thing. He was just cooking and hanging out like he did on Sunday nights really on his own property where he was and he was
Scott Horton 6:36
killed if I understand it, right. I’m sorry. I forgot if I read this in your piece Dave or somewhere else that there was reason to believe that maybe he had only fired his gun in the air to scare away whoever it might be rather than really took a shot at these cops and soldiers.
Dave DeCamp 6:49
Yeah, I mean, the surveillance that they released. You can’t see his like arm behind the door, but it looks like he’s aiming it has gone in the air and when the surrounds was was released by the cops. There was some Look, I saw a local news story. They’re pointing out all the other surveillance cameras like pointing at the door that could have shown him in the doorway. So his family’s, you know, suspicious that they’re, you know, selectively leaking. Wouldn’t that footage? Yeah. And another thing is that the two cops that fire their guns at night, two cops and two national guardsmen fired their weapons. They didn’t have their body cameras on and that caused the mayor to fire the police chief that was like a day or two after the incident happened. And one of the officers Katie Cruz is her name. She was on Facebook a few days before kind of bragging about pepper balling protesters. She put up a post it was like a picture of a protester giving her flowers or something. And in the caption, she wrote like, Oh, she was doing a lot more than offering me flowers. And I hope those pepper balls that she got lit up with later hurt and then she said something like, come back later on. I’m on the line again with like it. bicep emoji. And I was just reading from like watching the surveillance. It’s kind of like I figured she was one of the two cops that were pepper balling, and then pulled out the sidearm. I was just reading from the courier journal, which is a Louisville local paper. They just did like an investigation. And she was the one that kind of started that started the whole thing that went across the street and just started shooting pepper balls and shot into the doorway. So it was her recklessness that started it and then having the National Guard on her back is what is what killed him. So
Scott Horton 8:31
no surprise there. And man when you talk about they fired 18 shots. One of the soldiers, rifle rounds went through the guy’s chest and that was it. Right? He’s shot one time. Is that right?
Dave DeCamp 8:44
Yeah, he was shot one time.
Scott Horton 8:46
So the 17 rounds that went wild are almost as scandalous as the murder of this guy. I mean, they could have killed anybody. Huh. Apparently firing completely blindly or with no Skill whatsoever into a crowd of people. Yeah. I mean 17 wild rounds. How lucky is it that bystandard didn’t get their head blown off in that.
Dave DeCamp 9:12
Yeah, it is lucky. I mean, at the time it seemed like most of the people were in the in the barbecue shot. Luckily because they were still outside they probably would have been killed. But yeah, I mean the door open just the fact that they kept firing the pepper balls into the door was just what’s so you know, absurd about this. Yeah. And,
Scott Horton 9:34
and it is important point where you said that they have no business here whatsoever. I mean, if there was this curfew, they were if anything supposed to be enforcing it against protesters and or rioters out there somewhere. But instead, this is just a bunch of young people hanging out in the parking lot in their, you know, Friday night spot or whatever it was. Whatever night it was there, hanging out, you know, listening to music and having fun and They came in broke this up for no reason whatsoever other than the fun of picking a fight in enforcing some edict
Dave DeCamp 10:08
Yeah, and it looks like from the there’s some cell phone footage from across the street at the food market where they’re breaking up the crowd it looks like they were telling people to leave but then across the street at the barbecue shop they just showed up and just started they didn’t announce themselves they just started pepper ball in the crowd and it hit the family’s lawyer pointed out that they they violated you know their policies for dispersing a crowd. They’re supposed to you know announced themselves do a non violently and give people like time to disperse but instead they just showed up firing and he also makes the point the lawyer which I like is that the only people will get the benefit of the doubt in like similar situation are cops like they could shoot a child with the toy gun in a park. And you know, get away with it. But David mcentee can be in his in his home in a crowd. rushes in there’s some kind of projectiles firing in one hits is nice is nice any and it looks like he just went to fire a warning shot and they haven’t found they found a the shells next to his gun, but they haven’t found the bullet in the area at all in the street or anything which which makes it seem like he probably fired it in the air.
Scott Horton 11:23
Yeah. And you know I saw a clip of his cousin or his son or nephew or someone maybe was his brother. I’m sorry.
Dave DeCamp 11:34
It’s probably his nephew. He’s been doing like I
Scott Horton 11:36
guess was the nephew. Yeah, was saying, Oh, look, they want to say he fired first, but they fired first and they want to say oh yeah, but no, but that wasn’t a live round. That was just a pepper ball or something. Yes. So you’re just I forgot the way he said it was something funny and should have been memorable. Like you’re just trying to remix it something like that trying to change the story all around you fire First now you want to get technical on what kind of ammo, but for the people under fire they were being fired upon. And if he did anything, shooting his gun in the air, even if it had been at them, he didn’t say this part. But even if it had been asked them it was in defense, they were the ones who started it, not him.
Dave DeCamp 12:18
Scott Horton 12:19
And then by the way, and this goes to the title of your piece here, too, is about how, when we’re talking about all those wild rounds, that included every shot fired by those local cops, and so if the soldiers hadn’t been there, he would still be alive.
Dave DeCamp 12:35
Yeah, that’s true.
Scott Horton 12:40
Yeah, and maybe the cops would have rushed in there and executed the whole restaurant full of people hiding in the kitchen. I don’t know. But
Dave DeCamp 12:46
yeah, who knows? Apparently, his nephew got on the phone with 911 after he his uncle was shot and killed and you know, said like, we there’s people in here that want to come out. They’re scared. So he kind of defuse the situation. And afterwards, I guess but yeah, I mean, if he just ducked back inside again, they could have done that without, you know, if it was just those cops shooting those wild rounds, they could have diffused it and he could still be alive. They would probably have arrested him which, you know, like they arrested Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend.
Scott Horton 13:19
They were showing up on a crime scene here. Right? They’re clearing a parking lot of people having a good time. They’re enforcing a thing, but there’s no reason to think there are any armed felons around here committing crimes right now. They’re the ones who showed up and instigated the entire thing.
Dave DeCamp 13:33
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, just I mean, I titled it the danger of sending in the troops because I just think it shows like they’re just deploying an army even though they it was initiated by the cops, recklessness, the violence but just deploying an army into these, you know, black urban neighborhoods. It’s just the it’s just the recipe for disaster to enact curfews and and Yeah It could have been a lot more David McAtee’s if if Tom Cotton got his wish, you know?
Scott Horton 15:20
And and by the way, when it comes to the protests, you know, I think the riots really gave the protests a bad name in the first few days there but the riots have really seemed to have subsided. I mean, there’s some crime and looting going on here there but riding it doesn’t seem like it. And even the looting is way, way way down and the protest movement has continued and I read that it was 700 cities across the country 700 and something already had had these protests, and yet here in Lewisville, Kentucky, they had an extra reason to protest Not just for George Floyd and for, you know, the general history of police suppression in their town, but they had the case of Breonna Taylor was right there in Lewisville. Just a few weeks back. And, and due to public pressure to actually passed a ordinance, I guess in that city of Louisville, not a state law, but a city ordinance banning no knock SWAT team raids. calling it briona is law. And Rand Paul, believe it or not, actually, is trying to introduce a federal law in the Senate that would use you know, federal funds for local police as a way to twist arms to get them to ban no knock raids. And in her name, the Breonna Taylor act is what they’re trying to call it on the federal level. And I’ve had mean things to say About Rand Paul from time to time, but this is absolutely, you know, necessary and therefore heroic for him to do. But anyway, just point being though, the people in Lewisville, not any of the people at the barbecue place that night, but the people who were protesting. They sure had something to protest about here and I thought it was important that you mentioned what happened to her and I’ve kind of begged the question and, and baked in her innocence into my story here, but why don’t you go ahead and tell what happened to her. So people understand why this is, you know, for many people just as much of symbolic case as what happened to poor George Floyd.
Dave DeCamp 17:45
Yeah, well, Breonna Taylor, she was 26 year old EMT who’d been working through the whole Coronavirus pandemic, you know, but the people that are now you know, everybody’s calling heroes these days, you know, she was definitely one of them. And One night, the cops kicked down her door where she lived with her boyfriend. And he didn’t know who was and he fired on the cops. I believe he fired first. And then they unloaded on the apartment which killed Breonna Taylor, and then they retreated because they don’t like when people fire back. But if you listen to the 911 call, which I listened to you posted on the libertarian Institute, it’s her It’s horrible. I mean, he had no idea that it was the cops and and then the call, he’s like, realizing that she’s dead. It’s just, it’s just such a horrible story. And from what I understand, they were going to raid an apartment where a drug dealer had been shipping drugs, but this guy was already in jail. And I’m not sure if it was the wrong apartment. You You probably know more about this case than I do. Was it the wrong apartment, but I know the dealer was
Scott Horton 18:57
Yeah, and they’re blaming the Postal Inspector and the Postal Inspectors denying responsibility and saying I never said that. They were getting contraband at that address. Don’t blame me for that. Yeah, so they’re trying to pass the buck around there. But yeah, they were saying essentially, they’re, they’re pretending to believe or maybe they did believe that she was receiving packages for this guy who they busted somewhere else that night for contraband. But I mean, that just goes to show they had already caught him somewhere else earlier in the night. So yeah, they could have for that every reason, then if they think that first of all, it’s a woman in there, not some hardened gang leader, but you know, possibly a girlfriend or, you know, an acquaintance of this guy doing him a favor, right? That they could have just waited until 9am and send a guy in a cheap suit over there to knock on the door and say we’d like to have a look around. There was no reason whatsoever for them to crash. In her door, and I guess I forgot which thing it was I read that said that they had three warrants that night. And on the other one, they never did execute it. Or at least that night, they didn’t. So that just goes to show that they didn’t have to do it at her house either. But they decided to, and then it turns out that apparently there’s nothing to that at all. No, there’s no reason to believe that she was receiving packages of contraband in the mail. Which can you believe that that that would be a crime? Like a drug businessman, received his supplies so he could supply his customers? Uh huh. Where’s it? Yeah, big deal?
Dave DeCamp 20:38
Yeah. Yeah. And then from what I understand, they still haven’t arrested any of those cops or, I mean, not that that’s a surprise, but the new with everything going on. That’s what people are pushing for. And then the National Guard that the two cops have fired on Mcatee either been on they’re on administrative leave, which means they’re getting paid to sit home and then That the National Guard is not releasing the names of the soldiers that fire to and so there won’t be any accountability for them. They probably even have an extra layer of protection.
Scott Horton 21:11
Yeah. And then you know what everybody’s outrage is so partisan and so diffused that instead of this being a fire bell in the night and Kent State atrocity type situation is just another thing that happened, or I don’t know, maybe not. I mean, it, it seemed. Well, I’ll tell you was just the very beginning of a very long, hot summer day, we’re gonna see how it goes. But people have absolutely had enough of the police abuse, and it’s just, you know what it is, and the cops have always been bad, and I think they are worse. And it’s the qualified immunity and the militarization has a lot to do with it. But another thing is that Facebook and Twitter have made it where everybody’s got a soapbox, and anybody you know can show you a video of A local atrocity that would have never made the Dan Rather Peter Jennings Tom Brokaw, a New York Times, you know, monopoly narrative machine of a previous generation, it just wouldn’t have ever come through. Instead, now, each one of these local stories is a national story, and they can’t stop it. And so now that that happens, hey, it’s a big country with a lot of localities and a lot of police abuse and a lot of killings. A lot of innocent people maimed and put through hell. And then it’s just like, they lose. It’s like that movie UHF drink from the fire hose is absolutely out of control. And so people are just overwhelmed. Not just black people. And certainly not just criminals, but all kind of regular people are sick and tired of the cops and the way that they treat everybody. And it’s this kind of thing. These kinds of things. By the way, you know, as long as I’m ranting, raving all over your interview here I read this thing in the Rolling Stone. And I can’t remember the title anymore. And it was something about how, yeah, briona Taylor was a heroic EMT, she saved people’s lives for living. But so what that really shouldn’t have anything to do with if she was just some couch potato, who was not productive for anyone else, that’d be fine, too. She doesn’t owe us anything, which is a pretty good libertarian take for the Rolling Stone. I thought that yeah, it doesn’t matter. She’s a productive member of society or not, nevermind, and she’s one of the very best of us, which we’re all willing to concede. But even, you know, the lowest loser living under a bridge has the right to not be waxed by the cops like this, all of us do. And so you shouldn’t have to have been a hero to be a martyr. You know what I mean? In fact, you look at George Floyd, he is no hero, but he’s sure is a martyr because of what they did to him. You know? And that just goes shows the contrast maybe in their personal lives. What have you but they had just as much right as each other to not be destroyed this way. You know, this is crazy. That’s the way we operate in this society really is
Dave DeCamp 24:11
it is. Yeah. And I wish people more people were putting, putting forward real solutions, you know, like the qualified immunity thing that a mash put forward.
Scott Horton 24:23
And listen. One more thing here about the militarization is that. In almost every case, or the National Guard was called out here, it was unnecessary. If the cops had left the protesters alone, and focused only on people setting arson fires and stealing stuff. They had far more than enough manpower to do their job without the National Guard at all. Then he talked about Donald Trump and his itchy trigger finger. Did you see this piece by jack Murphy about the was 87th airborne or whatever it was that was deployed. It was About to be deployed on the streets of DC who actually word sent their thing was that? Yes,
Dave DeCamp 25:05
I did. Yeah, they were ready to go, man, I mean,
Scott Horton 25:08
and just talk about unnecessary and you know swatting a fly with a howitzer and this kind of thing, when you know any domestic police force in America, the sheriff’s department or city police force can put down any inner insurrection in any one part of town if they’re focused on the people who were actually causing violence and destruction. And we saw in case after case, the way they focused on the protesters, while people are, you know, running off with TVs and whatever,
Dave DeCamp 25:36
via from my own personal experience here in New York. I live in South Brooklyn and there was loot some serious looting in Manhattan, kind of one little stretch of Manhattan. There was a little bit of violence in in Brooklyn, but not much not no like real looting or anything. There’s like a few shootings but sometimes like gangs take advantage of the chaos. No, but, you know, I saw a lot of protesters in Brooklyn and they’re all peaceful and I saw a lot of cops dressed up in riot gear because I was I was delivering food My wife is she owns a business, I was helping her make deliveries and I was like navigating through these protests. And I see all these protesters walking peacefully and then waiting for them is like just a bunch of cops right here just like ready to paddle and then you have on the news and all these right wingers like calling to send in the guard and the army to New York to to stop the looting. But I mean, yeah, like, send more, you could have sent the cops to deal with the looting of Manhattan gotten out of Brooklyn, stop harassing these protesters or they were there blocking protests, who’s ever walking over the Manhattan Bridge while you know down the street, people were breaking windows and looting. It was just it’s just ridiculous. The curfews and enforcing that instead of actually protecting people’s property.
Scott Horton 26:56
Of course, the government led by the cops are the ones who caused all the right In the first place, let’s not forget yet, due to their monopoly, they’re the only security force anybody has to turn to. And so I guess with the election coming up, we’ll see just how far people side toward law and order when it comes to that. Yeah, that’s definitely the worst part of the protest. But then again, hey, the government fired all the protesters from all their jobs. So they got nothing to do but protest, and people can’t keep up rioting and looting and chaos, for, you know, other than short bursts in certain places, but they can keep up a protest movement. And they have been, and I don’t know all the numbers and all the cities and what have you, but people are staying very firm about this and continuing the peaceful protests, which is also show a force, you know, as Dave Smith was telling me, pointing out that really every large March is a potential riot, isn’t it? And it’s a latent sort of a threat. It’s, you know, we’re being nice now, but what if we were angry is sort of implied in having a giant, you know, we’re really angry is implied and having mass protests. But so, you know, we should definitely encourage those and I’m certainly really happy to see them. And it’s unfortunate as you said, the way some of the energy from it is, is maybe being wasted on some things, but there’s already some good steps, like banning nitrates in Lewisville. Just nitrates and Lewisville, that’s enough to save a few lives. You know what I mean? That’s not nothing. That’s just a start here. So
Dave DeCamp 28:35
yeah, it’s impressive. Hopefully, you know, I’m definitely impressed by everybody. That’s been, you know, I’m always
Scott Horton 28:40
trying to coin Iraq War One, two, and three. I don’t know why that doesn’t catch on. But we should, we should really try to push night raids, because that is exactly what they are. But that’s what they call them when they send in the Delta Force and the Navy SEALs in Afghanistan and so that Yes, the real point I think not just no knocks, but nitrates, because that is what it is paramilitary. I mean, these guys are trained by special operations guys. Not very well, but you know. So anyway, it’s just a thing. It’s just a little thing, but maybe help move a margin somewhere. I’m way over time. Thank you. And I apologize for spending so much time talking during your interview.
Dave DeCamp 29:23
Oh, no, it’s okay. This isn’t my, you know, my usual topic that I write about everything I’ve written about for anyone comes with foreign policy, but unfortunately, you know, a US soldier killed an American citizen, so I had to draw attention to it.
Scott Horton 29:38
Yep, absolutely. Well, listen, I’m really glad that we have you around. You do great work, Dave. Appreciate it.
Dave DeCamp 29:43
Thanks. Thanks, Scott.
Scott Horton 29:45
Aren’t you guys that is Dave DeCamp assistant news editor at antiwar.com This one is called the danger of sending in the troops. The killing of David Mcatee the Scott Horton show anti war radio can be heard on kpfk Hey 90.7 FM in LA, APSradio.com antiwar.com, Scotthorton.org and libertarianinstitute.org