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Ky. Police Officer Charged With Murder

March 5, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ A white police officer whose fatal shooting of a black teenager during an undercover drug buy raised racial tensions in Louisville was indicted Friday on murder charges.

McKenzie Mattingly, 31, has been on leave since the Jan. 3 slaying of Michael Newby, 19, who was shot in the back.

``Just because you have a badge on your chest doesn’t give you the right to just shoot anybody,″ prosecutor David Stengel said at a news conference.

Newby was the seventh black man fatally shot by Louisville police in the past five years. None of the officers involved in the previous shootings was charged.

Mattingly, who had appeared before the grand jury earlier Friday, left without speaking to reporters and was not present when the indictment came down.

He could get 20 years to life in prison on the murder charge. His arraignment was set for Monday.

Civil rights leaders and black community members, along with some whites, have demanded answers since Newby was shot.

Police have said that Mattingly was trying to buy drugs and that there was a struggle before the policeman fired. Police said a gun and drugs were found on Newby.

Hundreds of people have gathered in two protests, one that ended with young people tipping over trash cans and newspaper racks. The demonstrations were some of the biggest protests in Louisville since those that followed the 2002 shooting of James Taylor, who was handcuffed but holding a box cutter. A grand jury eventually cleared the white officers involved.

The Rev. Louis Coleman, a civil rights activis who organized several protest rallies, said the indictment was a step in the right direction but still called for Mattingly’s firing.

``This this is not over yet,″ he said.

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