Trial of former LMPD officer accused of official misconduct gets underway
The former Louisville narcotics detective accused of shooting a man while he was off-duty and drunk faced a judge and jury Tuesday morning.
Tuesday, January 13th 2015, 11:50 AM EST
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – "No one is above the law."
Those words echoed from the courthouse Tuesday as a jury heard the first day of testimony in the trial of a former LMPD detective accused of shooting a man while he was off duty and drunk.
Police dashcam video captured the tension near 24th Street and Chestnut Street on Sept. 4, 2012 -- the night Chauncey Carthan admits to shooting Ishmael Gough in the right thigh.
"No lights had been flashed, no marked car, no uniform, no badge," said Adrienne Henderson, the prosecutor in the case.
Two years later a jury must decide who was at fault when it happened.
"Gough pops up again, grabs Carthan's hand and is trying to get the gun out of his hand," said defense attorney Steve Shroering. "He's trying to take his gun."
In opening statements Carthan's defense attorney says his client began following Gough after he sped past the officers unmarked police car. Carthan was an LMPD narcotics detective at the time.
Prosecutors say Gough pulled over not knowing why he was being followed.
"The person in the black Mustang with rims jumped out of the car, gun drawn, ordered him out of the car and said, 'I'm a cop -- get on the ground!'" said Henderson.
Prosecutors say Gough had reason to doubt.
"This man had no radio, this man had no flashlight," said Henderson. "There was nothing about this that indicated this was a police stop. So as Ishmael lay there, going over this in his head, he decided, 'This guy is not a cop. This guy is trying to rob me.'"
The tension escalated.
"Chauncey Carthan backs up, again screams, 'Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!'" said Shroering.
"He's backing up, he's backing up, he's backing up, but there's nowhere to go because his car is still behind him and at that moment, the gunman lowered the gun and -- Pow! -- shot him in the leg," said Henderson.
Police never charged Gough. Instead, the charges fell on Carthan who prosecutors say was not only off duty, but drunk when he pulled the trigger. The jury won't just decide on his career. They'll say whether the now-former LMPD officer should be behind bars.
"Every step that Chauncey Carthan took was in an effort to protect the community and an effort to protect himself," said Shroering.
"Ladies and gentlemen, no one is above the law," said Henderson.
Carthan is charged with wanton endangerment, official misconduct and DUI. Both he and Gough are expected to testify in the case.
Gough may testify as early as Wednesday.
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