LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A white Louisville police officer indicted on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a black teenager was fired Thursday.
Police Chief Robert White said McKenzie Mattingly, 31, violated the department’s use of force policy when he shot Michael Newby in January.
“Specifically, I felt that Michael Newby was not an immediate threat to the officer’s life or his physical well-being. Nor was any other person in the area clearly in immediate danger because of Newby’s actions,” White said.
Mattingly was indicted March 5 by a grand jury on charges of murder and wanton endangerment.
Mattingly, who is white, told investigators he believed Newby, 19, was carrying a concealed weapon as the two struggled over the officer’s service handgun. Police described the incident as an undercover drug buy gone awry.
The officer, who had been on paid administrative leave since the Jan. 3 shooting outside a western Louisville liquor store, has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
Seventh killing in five years
Newby was the seventh black man killed by police in the past five years in Louisville. His death prompted a series of protests.
“We felt that this was the right decision,” said the Rev. Louis Coleman, a protest organizer.
Steve Schroering, Mattingly’s attorney in the criminal case, said he was disappointed with White’s decision.
“In light of the true facts of the case, the decision is pitiful. But in light of the political environment, it was predictable,” Schroering said. He declined to comment further.
“I think there are very solid indications that (Mattingly) feared for his life,” said a supporter, Lukas Dwelly.
A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police called Mattingly’s firing premature, and said the union would file an appeal after the criminal case has ended.
Newby’s mother filed a federal lawsuit last month claiming her son’s civil rights were violated. She is seeking $5 million in damages.
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