LOUISVILLE ( AP ) -- The mother of a black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in January filed a federal lawsuit yesterday claiming her son's civil rights were violated.
The lawsuit says Michael Newby's constitutional rights were ignored when officer McKenzie Mattingly shot him in the back three times after an undercover drug deal that went wrong.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville, also charges the police department and Louisville Metro Government with failing to properly train Mattingly and prevent Newby's death.
Mattingly, 31, was indicted earlier this month on murder and wanton endangerment charges by a Jefferson County grand jury. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
Newby's mother, Angela Bouggess, is seeking $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, said her attorney, Thomas Clay.
A spokesman for the county attorney's office said government and police officials would have no comment on the allegations in the suit until a response is filed in court. Mattingly's attorney in the criminal case, Steve Schroering, declined to comment on the civil claims.
The lawsuit came a day after prosecutors filed hundreds of court documents in the criminal case against Mattingly. The officer has been on paid administrative leave since the Jan. 3 shooting outside a western Louisville liquor store.
Mattingly told investigators he believed Newby, 19, was trying to kill him even though he never saw a weapon. Other officers said a .45-caliber pistol was found in Newby's waistband after he was shot and handcuffed.
Mattingly said he tried to arrest Newby and the two struggled over his service handgun. According to the interview, the gun discharged and Mattingly thought Newby had pulled the trigger.
According to the lawsuit, Mattingly's actions violated Newby's 4th and 14th Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable seizure. It also finds fault with his training, arguing that "it is improper for the undercover narcotics officer to pursue, arrest or apprehend potential suspects or get out of his vehicle." That should have been done by a backup officer, the suit said.
Clay said the criminal evidence filed Thursday will bolster his civil case, noting that both prosecutors and grand jurors have doubted Mattingly's explanation for the shooting.
If convicted on the murder charge, Mattingly could receive a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
Jerry Bouggess, Newby's stepfather, said the lawsuit was necessary "so black men don't have to fear for their lives when confronted by any officer."
Newby was the seventh black man killed by police in the past five years in Louisville. His shooting by Mattingly, who is white, prompted a series of protests in the city.
The Rev. Louis Coleman, who has led many of the protests, said police need to be held accountable for their actions.
"This community is looking for more than an indictment," he said. "It was a $100 drug deal, and a young man is dead. The circumstances are totally unjustified."
Newby's mother, who emerged from the courthouse Friday with tears in her eyes, said she hopes the lawsuit brings change to the police department.
"Everyone who knew Mike knew that he was a good guy," she said. "He didn't deserve it."
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