VICTIM INTERRUPTED DRUG BUST, WITNESSES TESTIFY
LOUISVILLE - Undercover officers weren't expecting Michael Newby to
interrupt the Jan. 3 drug bust that ended with Newby's fatal shooting,
witnesses said yesterday in the murder trial of the detective charged
in the killing.
Louisville officers were waiting near a liquor store in western
Louisville for a dealer whom the narcotics detective, McKenzie
Mattingly, had contacted by phone that night. Some of the officers and
two witnesses testified yesterday that while Mattingly was waiting in
an undercover vehicle, he was approached by Newby and two other men
who wanted to sell crack cocaine to him.
Minutes later, Newby would be shot three times in the back. He died at
a hospital the next morning.
Newby, 19, was the seventh black man killed by Louisville police since
1998, sparking weeks of protests of the department.
Mattingly, who is white, was fired in April after the indictment. He
was the first Louisville officer to be criminally charged in any of
"If you're here doing business, you need to do it with us," a witness,
Matthew Gibson, heard one of the men tell Mattingly the night of the
shooting. It wasn't clear if the man was Newby.
Gibson and his twin brother, Mitch -- both civilians on a police
ride-along that night -- were listening along with police to the wire
transmitter that Mattingly was wearing as he sat in an undercover vehicle.
"They were overbearing," Matthew Gibson said of Newby and the two men,
who continued to prod Mattingly to buy from them instead of the dealer
he expected to meet.
Mattingly was then robbed by one of the men who approached his car,
and he got out and scuffled with Newby just before the shooting,
But none of the witnesses who testified yesterday, including a handful
of officers with Mattingly the night of the shooting, said they could
see both Mattingly and Newby during the shooting. Mitch Gibson said he
saw Mattingly raise his weapon and fire, but he said he could not see
Newby from the car he was sitting in.
Mattingly's attorneys have argued that Newby made a gesture that
signaled to Mattingly that Newby was reaching for a weapon. Newby was
carrying a .45-caliber handgun, some crack cocaine and marijuana the
night of the shooting, police said.
Prosecutors said Mattingly never mentioned that Newby had a gun, and
officers didn't know Newby was armed until after he was shot.
gly's attorney, Steve Schroering, has argued that Newby grabbed
Mattingly's own gun while they struggled, causing Mattingly to fear
for his life.
The shooting shocked Mattingly, witnesses said yesterday.
Kyle Willet, a detective who worked undercover with Mattingly, said
his partner was "pale-faced, somewhat distraught and wide-eyed" after
Mattingly put his hands on top of his head and said "Oh my god," Mitch
The trial is expected to last another week.