Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Former cop cleared in shooting of black

Final charge dropped by Louisville

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Prosecutors have dropped a wanton endangerment charge against a former city police detective who fatally shot a drug suspect, ending the criminal case against the former undercover officer.

McKenzie Mattingly, 31, was charged with murder and wanton endangerment in March and fired by the police department in April. He shot Michael Newby, 19, three times in the back on Jan. 3 after an undercover drug deal went awry.

Mattingly was acquitted of the murder charge after an eight-day trial last week. But Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman declared a mistrial on the wanton endangerment charge when the jury said it could not reach a decision.

Prosecutors dropped the wanton endangerment charge on Monday. Mattingly had faced that charge for firing his weapon near a carload of people at a liquor store drive-through the night of the shooting. But prosecutors could not find those witnesses to testify at the trial.

Mattingly was cleared of murder, manslaughter and reckless homicide charges after the jury deliberated for eight hours on Wednesday.

The case was the seventh fatal shooting of a black man by Louisville police since 1998.

Mattingly testified that he felt his life was in danger during and after a struggle with Newby.

Mattingly was working undercover when he encountered Newby and two other men that night. He attempted to make a drug buy with Newby, who was carrying a .45-caliber handgun and bags of cocaine and marijuana.

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