It is hard to process everything happening around us.
As the country is grappling with the events that are unfolding before our eyes, there is yet another piece of news that has left everyone shocked and confused. Amidst the nationwide protest happening in response to the murder of George Floyd, people who want justice are making their voices heard from all walks of life.
While some cops, too, are in solidarity with the protesters and want justice for Floyd, there were a few who resorted to violence in an effort to dismiss the crowd. During one such instance, they shot at a gathering killing David McAtee, a 53-year-old owner of a barbeque joint who has been a "community pillar," according to his mother, Odessa Riley, reports USA Today.
According to law enforcement officials, the cops fired at a gathering after what they claimed were gunshots from someone in the crowd in a parking lot. No one knew who the victim was until a day later when his nephew identified McAtee to the Louisville Courier-Journal of the USA TODAY Network.
McAtee was someone who was always there for the community and who even gave food to anyone who needed it without charging them. He owned YaYa's BBQ, named after his nickname, which is one of the most popular joints at the Louisville's West End area. He was helping protesters and cops on duty by handing out free food to all of them when he was shot by the cops.
DAVID McATEE WAS A BLACK MAN AT A PROTEST IN LOUISVILLE. HE WAS MURDERED BY A POLICE MAN. HE WASN'T RIOTING OR LOOTING. HE WAS HANDING OUT FOOD FOR PROTESTERS AND COPS. SAY HIS NAME. pic.twitter.com/WzPHmiHyxF— 🌸Trash🌸 #BLM (@r_o_s_i_e_e_) June 5, 2020
Earlier in February, he had given an interview to West of Ninth, where he quoted proudly, "This location is one of the busiest locations in west Louisville. I always wanted to be in this spot, and when the opportunity came, I took it." He worked his way through to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant. "I gotta start somewhere, and this is where I’m going to start," he said. "It might take another year or two to get to where I’m going, but I’m going to get there." But his dream never came true as he was killed doing what he did best—ensure no one in his neighborhood went hungry. The saddest part being this was the man who has fed even the cops in the neighborhood without charging them a dime.
"He fed the police and didn't charge them nothing. My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family," said his mother Odessa Riley, according to USA Today. "And they come along and they killed my son."
David McAtee was HELPING the police, and they turned and shot him dead. Bodycams turned off, and left his body in the street for 12 hours.— celebrating pride and hating cops (@NoAvi6) June 6, 2020
Here is a petition to give him justice: https://t.co/YrSWJFZmRc
Say his name. pic.twitter.com/bAvctWz4sD
As she came to finally grasp the fact that her son was no more, she broke into tears and told CNN, "They killed him for no reason." The heartbroken mother got a call around 1 AM Monday and was told that her son was killed. She has been there at the scene since. "All I want to do is just see my son before they bring him out, that's all I want," Riley said.
"Right now, I can't tell you the feeling I have. All I can say -- when a mother loses her child, a piece of you goes along with that child." -- Odessa Riley, #DavidMcAtee's mother #Louisville #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/jdtI4mqcZL— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) June 1, 2020
David James, Louisville Metro Council President, knew McAtee personally and described him as someone who always offered food without expecting anything in return. He had commented on him earlier saying, "He’s just a good, decent person. He believes in this neighborhood. He loves his city, loves his neighborhood, loves to cook food, loves to keep people happy with his sense of humor. He’s just a great guy."
This is David McAtee.— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 2, 2020
He was the owner YaYa’s BBQ in Louisville, Kentucky. A pillar of his community, he gave free food to people in need
He even gave free food to the police who in return shot and killed him last night. Left his body on the street for 12 hrs.
SAY HIS NAME!💔 pic.twitter.com/SsEbqHeiAu
The shock of his death is still to hit the community entirely in all the chaos going around. Councilwoman Jessica Green called the kind man as a "staple in the community," who always lent a helping hand and a friendly smile to people. "To wake up and see that he was now dead, I honestly for the last week and a half, I’ve had a pit in the bottom of my stomach about all of this," she said. "I’m just very distressed and uneasy right now."
It isn't just her who is distressed, but all of us who are trying hard to make sense of the events. Prayers and love to McAtee and Floyd's family. Rest in power.