Fired white officer indicted in fatal shooting of Kansas man
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A fired white Kansas police officer has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a black man last year while investigating a domestic dispute, prosecutors announced Monday.
Matthew Harrington, 25, made his first court appearance Monday on one count of involuntary manslaughter in the July 2017 death of 47-year-old Antonio Garcia Jr., said Leavenworth County Prosecutor Todd Thompson. He was released on $50,000 bond.
Harrington was fired in January for what Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said was a violation of the department’s use of deadly force policy. At the time, Harrington’s attorneys released a statement saying that his actions were consistent with the department’s use of force policies and procedures.
McCauley and Roach, the law firm representing Harrington, said in a statement Monday that Harrington used force only because of a “clear and immediate threat to his life.”
“We are confident that justice will be served when Officer Harrington is exonerated based upon the reasonableness of his actions,” the statement said.
Harrington, now of Henderson, Nevada, had been dispatched to Garcia’s home after an argument between family members. Police said in a news release that Garcia had left the home before Harrington arrived, but returned a short time later and encountered the officer.
Relatives have said Harrington tried to stop Garcia from leaving and that Garcia was shot when he tried to drive away in his sport utility vehicle.
Ken Barnes, one of the attorneys representing Garcia’s family, said: “They are relieved that there are finally some charges being filed. They are disappointed that it is involuntary manslaughter and not something more serious, but they are relieved that the justice system is holding this man accountable.”
Barnes said the family is considering a wrongful death lawsuit. They’re already suing over access to video of the shooting because only Barnes, his co-council and Garcia’s wife were able to view the video in a police conference room. The family hasn’t been provided a copy of the video, and other relatives haven’t seen it.
Leavenworth is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Kansas City, Missouri.