HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Murder Charge in Ky. Police Shooting
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 2004
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2004 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Dylan T. Lovan, Associated Press


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Michael Newby's extra-large jogging pants were
falling down as he rushed out of the house. "Boy, you better get a
rope or a belt or something for those," Jerry Bouggess told his
slender stepson, who was heading out for a Saturday night.

That was the last conversation they would have.

Early the next morning, Newby, 19, was dead, shot in the back three
times by an undercover Louisville police officer during a drug bust.
Newby was the seventh black man killed by police in the past five
years in this city of nearly 700,000, where blacks make up about 20
percent of the population.

Unlike the past killings, however, this one led to murder charges
against the officer, McKenzie G. Mattingly, a white man who had been
on the force for about six years. But legal specialists and local
activists are skeptical the case will end in a murder conviction.

"Just because somebody is shot in the back doesn't mean it's a
criminal act," said Tim Apolito, a criminal justice professor at the
University of Dayton in Ohio. "It's a quantum leap from somebody
getting indicted to actually being convicted."

Jefferson County prosecutor David Stengel said the Jan. 3 slaying
appeared all along to be a "bad shooting," in part because of the
shots in the back.

Mattingly, 31, pleaded not guilty and is free on bail.

Apolito, a former police officer in Ohio, said prosecutors face
significant hurdles.

"It's hard for prosecutors to show intent to kill when an officer has
to react quickly in a potentially dangerous situation," he said. "You
would have to demonstrate not that he did this accidentally but just
clearly intended to take this person's life. And that is usually a
difficult thing to do, because police officers -- even when they take
someone's life -- don't do it with the purpose of taking somebody's
life. They do it with the goal of eliminating that person's ability to
harm them or someone else."

Activists who have protested recent shootings by police say they are
not optimistic Mattingly will be convicted of murder.

"The burden of proof is so heavy" for prosecutors, said Shelby Lanier,
a former Louisville officer who has protested shootings by the department.

The federal government does not keep national figures on fatal police
shootings. But clearly it can be difficult to win a conviction.

In Connecticut, Scott Smith, a white New Milford officer who shot a
black man to death, was cleared of murder but convicted of
manslaughter in 2000. The verdict was later overturned on appeal, and
Smith is awaiting a new trial on the manslaughter charge.

In 1999, West African immigrant Amadou Diallo was killed by four white
undercover police officers in New York City. The officers said they
thought Diallo was reaching for a gun. They were acquitted of criminal

Last year in Louisville, a grand jury did not find enough evidence to
indict two white officers in the shooting death of a handcuffed black
man who had lunged at an officer with a box cutter.

Police said Newby was shot during an undercover drug buy in
predominantly black western Louisville. Police said Newby was carrying
a .45-caliber handgun, and a powdery substance, believed to be
cocaine, was found on him after the shooting.

Mattingly has not spoken publicly about the shooting. His attorney,
Steve Schroering, said Mattingly is certain his actions were
necessary. He predicted his client would be exonerated.

Newby's slaying raised racial tensions in Louisville and prompted
protests outside the police station and at the mayor's house.

Mattingly's friends, meanwhile, staged a rally for him last month.
About two dozen uniformed officers, all of them white, attended his
arraignment. About 15 percent of Louisville's 1,200-member police
force is black.

Bouggess and Newby's mother, Angela Newby-Bouggess, came face-to-face
with Mattingly for the first time during the officer's March 8

"My faith doesn't allow me to hate. So I can't hate him, and Ann
doesn't either," Bouggess said 
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