Ex-officer involved in 2020 protest shooting avoids prison

Jan 30, 2023, 12:30 AM | Updated: 3:20 pm
Former Louisville Police officer Katie Crews, center, leaves the federal courthouse in Louisville, ...

Former Louisville Police officer Katie Crews, center, leaves the federal courthouse in Louisville, Ky., on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. Crews was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to using excessive force during 2020 protests in Louisville. Crews was blamed for instigating a conflict that led to the fatal shooting of a restaurant owner. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)

(AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Louisville police officer blamed for instigating a deadly shooting during the 2020 protests over the death of Breonna Taylor was sentenced Monday to two years of probation.

Katie R. Crews, 30, pleaded guilty last year to one count of using excessive force during a curfew crackdown in 2020 that ended with the fatal shooting of restaurant owner David McAtee.

In court Monday, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton called Crews’ actions “incredibly dangerous” and doubled a one-year recommended probation period to two years. Crews was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, and she can no longer work in law enforcement.

Beaton said he was reluctant to allow Crews to avoid prison time, but was told that McAtee’s family had given their blessing to the recommended sentence.

“None of us should minimize this,” Beaton said during the hourlong hearing.

Also Monday, lawyers for McAtee’s family announced the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit filed against Louisville Police, two National Guard members and Crews was settled for $725,000, said attorney Steve Romines.

“The family wanted to put all litigation behind them, both for themselves and the city that David loved,” Romines said in a text message. He said McAtee’s mother is 89 years old and has “no desire to litigate for another five years.”

McAtee’s death further angered protesters who had began massing in Louisville’s downtown streets in May 2020 over the death of Taylor, a Black medical tech killed by police who entered her apartment using a falsified drug warrant.

Crews fired pepper balls at a crowd near McAtee’s restaurant and into his kitchen, where his niece was struck in the shoulder. McAtee returned fire with a handgun, and was fatally shot by a National Guard member who had been deployed to Louisville to help enforce curfews.

Former Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields said the firing of the pepper balls by Crews “really jump-started the chaos that ensued.”

Crews was fired last year for for escalating the conflict the night of McAtee’s death and for a separate incident in which she taunted a protester on social media a couple of days earlier.

The former officer had been photographed by media with a protester who appeared to offer her a flower. Crews posted the photo on social media and wrote that she hoped “the pepper balls that (the protester) got lit up with a little later on hurt.”

“Come back and get ya some more ole girl, I’ll be on the line again tonight,” Crews wrote.

Crews’ attorney, Steve Schroering, said in court Monday that the woman in the photo was cursing and berating the officers that night, including Crews, according to reviews of body camera footage. Schroering said the officers were under extreme pressure during the protests and that Crews’ social media post was “a reaction to something that was put out to the public that was not true.”

On the night of McAtee’s death, Crews was part of a group of Louisville officers and National Guard members sent to an area near his eatery, YaYa’s BBQ, to break up a crowd.

Crews approached the kitchen of the restaurant while firing nonlethal pepper balls, which release a chemical agent. The shots from Crews prompted bystanders to rush into McAtee’s kitchen, and Crews kept firing in that direction. McAtee’s niece, standing in the doorway of the kitchen, was hit in the shoulder by one of Crews’ nonlethal rounds.

After his niece was hit, McAtee pulled a pistol from his hip and fired a shot out the door. Crews and other officers then switched to live rounds and McAtee, leaning out his kitchen door, was fatally shot in the chest. Family members said in a lawsuit against Crews that McAtee didn’t know that nonlethal rounds were being fired into the restaurant.

Prosecutors later cleared Louisville officers and two National Guard members in a criminal probe into McAtee’s death, saying they were justified in using deadly force because McAtee fired at them.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling 3,100 gallons of diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes
9 hours ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
1 day ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
2 days ago
Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Ex-officer involved in 2020 protest shooting avoids prison