LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former Louisville police officer Katie Crews was sentenced Monday for violating an individual’s rights by using excessive force, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

What You Need To Know

  • Crews pleaded guilty to firing a pepper ball at the niece of a local restaurant owner

  • She's been sentenced to two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine

  • She had initially been charged with a felony and faced up to 10 years in prison

On June 1, 2020, Crews — who was employed with the Louisville Metro Police Department at the time — responded to the area of YaYa’s BBQ at 26th and Broadway along with other officers and the National Guard to break up a gathering that was violating a city-mandated curfew in wake of Breonna Taylor protests.

Court documents said she used a pepper ball gun, striking Machelle McAtee, David McAtee‘s niece. David McAtee owned the restaurant and died from a single gunshot to the chest. A ballistics report found the bullet fragments had green paint, showing the bullet came from a National Guard member, but the fragment was so destroyed there was no way of knowing whose gun fired the fatal shot.

Former officer Katie Crews. (LMPD)

Crews admitted to her actions during a plea hearing in Oct. 2022 and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count for using unreasonable force.

She’s been sentenced to two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.

She is no longer part of the Louisville Metro Police Department as part of her plea deal, and she has also forfeited her Kentucky law enforcement certification.

“This former Louisville police officer abused her authority as a law enforcement officer and violated the victim’s civil rights,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement. “This sentence makes clear that law enforcement officials are not above the law. The Justice Department will continue to prosecute law enforcement officials who violate our federal civil rights laws and defy the public trust by using excessive force.”

Crews was originally charged with a felony and faced as many as 10 years in prison. 

The FBI and the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit investigated the case through the Louisville Public Corruption Civil Rights Task Force.