Kansas officer fired for violating policy in deadly shooting

January 29, 2018 - 11:47 am

A Kansas police officer has been fired six months after fatally shooting a man, and prosecutors continue to review the case.

Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said in an email Monday that Officer Matthew Harrington was terminated Friday for violating the department's use of deadly force policy. The release said Harrington responded in July to a domestic argument over possession of a sport utility vehicle that initially was reported as a stolen automobile.

The release says Garcia left before Harrington arrived, then returned and had an "encounter" with Harrington in the driveway. Garcia was shot while in the SUV. No other details were provided about what led up to the shooting.

Harrington doesn't have a listed phone number. The department doesn't have union representation, and it wasn't immediately known if Harrington had an attorney.

Leavenworth County prosecutor Todd Thompson said in a news release that his staff hopes to complete its review soon, noting that they're awaiting requested information. The release noted that the criminal investigation is separate from the police inquiry.

"The standard for terminating an employee based on upon professional standards is also a much lower burden than the burden used to charge and/or convict someone of a crime," the release said. "We have an ethical duty to do our best to fully vet a matter before we file charges on anyone."

Gina Mays, who raised Garcia starting when he was a teen, told The Kansas City Star that Garcia "did not deserve to die" and that the family wanted to see body camera footage.

"We're all hoping to see this," Mays said. "I want answers like everyone else. There is a man dead here because of neglect."

Kitchens said police aren't releasing body camera footage because the investigation is ongoing and it's classified as evidence.

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