A protest march over the police killing of Michael Newby in Louisville ended in violent clashes between police and demonstrators at Louisville police headquarters Thursday night. At least four persons from a crowd estimated at 400 people were arrested as demonstrators called police "pigs" and "cowards" and broke windows in the police chief’s office.
An undercover Louisville Metro Police shot and killed 19-year-old black city resident Michael "Li'l Mike" Newby Saturday night in a drug bust gone bad, Police Chief Robert White had announced Sunday. Newby, who was found to be carrying a pistol in his waistband, was shot three times in the back as he fled after scuffling with white Officer McKenzie Mattingly near 46th and Market Streets in Louisville's West End neighborhood.
Mattingly, who was assigned to a police anti-drug unit, was in the area attempting to make drug buys when the deal "went bad," White said. "There was a tussle for the [officer's] service weapon, a shot was fired, the subject fled and in the course of that, the subject was shot three times in the back," White said.
White did not explain why Newby was shot as he fled. Nor did he explain why other anti-drug officers nearby handcuffed the dying man as he lay on the ground.
Officer Mattingly is now on paid leave, and Chief White said the shooting would be investigated by the department's public integrity unit and the mayor's Police Accountability Commission. "I would ask that our department and the community at large be mindful that this investigation is very young," White said. "There are a lot of unanswered questions. There are concerns that I, like members of this department and I'm sure members of this community, have that relate to this."
White became chief a year ago this month, as the department was embroiled in controversy over earlier white police killings of black men. Newby's death was the second police killing in three months, but the earlier killing -- of an armed robber holding a gun to a victim's head -- was non-controversial.
Newby's killing, however, is once again raising the specter of racial tension in the city, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. The Rev. Louis Coleman, retired director of the Louisville Justice Resource Center, prayed Sunday with Newby's family and was to meet with them this week to start planning strategy.
The family is criticizing the killing and the police response so far. Family members attended White's news conference and met privately with the chief, but pronounced themselves unsatisfied. "He didn't know anything," Helen Swain, Newby's aunt, said of the chief. "We already knew what he said. The only thing we can do is continue to pray and continue to try to find the truth."
Jerry Bouggess, Newby's stepfather, complained that police prevented he and his wife, Angela, the youth's mother, from coming to their son's aid and that police lied to them after they ran to the scene. "We told them that we were his parents, but they wouldn't let us cross," he said. "They told us that no one's been hurt and that no one was shot. This is just terrible," Bouggess said. "They treated him like he was an animal."
One family friend at the home told the Courier-Journal black people in the neighborhood are frightened of the police. Bouggess agreed. "I feel terror, really," he said. "The West End has gotten so that black men not only have to look out for crime, but they have to look out for the police, too. He always had a fear of the police."