Louisville’s police chief and chief of public services walked out of a government oversight committee meeting Monday, citing a recent lawsuit for keeping them from answering questions about the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee and police actions during protests, according to a city spokesperson.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot eight times after police broke down the door to her apartment while executing a nighttime warrant in a narcotics investigation on March 13. McAtee, 53, was fatally shot on June 1 as police and the Kentucky National Guard dispersed a large crowd. Surveillance footage appeared to show McAtee fire at police first.
“We understand that people in our city want answers. We want them too, and we remain committed to sharing information as soon as we can without jeopardizing pending investigations,” Jean Porter, director of communications for the mayor of Louisville, said in a statement.
Chief of Public Services Amy Hess and interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder had previously agreed to answer questions at the meeting, according to a letter sent by attorneys for the city and Schroeder.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU of Kentucky filed a complaint a few days before the appearance, tackling the same issues of police actions during Black Lives Matter protests earlier in the summer, according to the letter.
“Rather than treating its peaceful protesters as important parts of the democratic process protected by the Constitution, the City of Louisville has chosen to forcibly silence them — often using military-type weapons and tactics that resemble those used by authoritarian regimes to stifle dissent,” the lawsuit alleges.
The committee chair denied Hess and Schroeder’s offers to return later or answer questions behind closed doors, telling them to leave if they could not answer questions publicly, Porter told CNN.
“The Committee chair was well aware before they set up today’s meeting that there are matters that we are legally not allowed to share, and they were advised of our concerns about proceeding at this time,” according to the city’s statement.
Schroeder and the ACLU of Kentucky declined to comment to CNN.