ELIZABETH, NJ – An off-duty Newark police officer who fatally shot a Middlesex County man outside of Paddy’s Place in Union in May was indicted by a Union County grand jury Wednesday, according to Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park.

Joseph Macchia, 35, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of 37-year-old Michael Gaffney of Piscataway.

Township of Union police responded to Paddy’s Place, at 999 Rosemont Avenue, early on Friday, May 13, where officers found Gaffney, who was pronounced dead at the scene.  

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The investigation, which involved the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and Homicide Task Force, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit and the Union Township Police Department, determined that prior to the shooting, Officer Macchia and Gaffney engaged in a physical altercation outside the bar.

According to the prosecutor’s office, after several minutes, Macchia and Gaffney separated from one another. Several minutes later, it said, they re-engaged in a second physical altercation. During the course of the second altercation, Macchia fired his service weapon multiple times, fatally shooting Gaffney, the prosecutor's office said.

Macchia turned himself in to authorities Wednesday afternoon. Bail was set at $100,000.

This investigation was conducted in strict accordance with New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Directive 2006-5 and the July 28, 2015 supplemental directive, which governs all investigations into use of deadly force by law enforcement. Anyone with information about this matter is still being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Kalebota at 908-527-4567.

Convictions on second-degree crimes are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison. These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.