Decision to shoot costs man his life and Leavenworth officer his job

Leavenworth shooting scene.

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. –The Leavenworth Police Department fired an officer on Friday after a recent investigation revealed that he violated the department’s deadly force policy while responding to a call in July of 2017.

Former Leavenworth officer Matthew Harrington

Officer Matthew Harrington was responding to a domestic dispute on Rose Street when he came across 47-year-old Antonio Garcia at that address in an SUV in the driveway.

47-year-old Antonio Garcia

Officer Harrington had what police refer to as an ‘encounter’ with Garcia. At some point Officer Harrington fired his weapon and killed Garcia.

The investigation wrapped up on Friday, Jan. 19 The department determined the officer violated policy when it comes to use of deadly force and fired the officer on Friday, Jan. 26.

Officer Harrington had been with the department for approximately two years. He graduated the Kansas Law Enforcement Academy in 2016.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson issued a statement shortly after the firing of Officer Harrington was made public.

Thompson said the county attorney’s investigation is separate from the police department’s investigation, and it is unclear at this time whether the officer will face any charges.

“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,” Thompson said. ” We have an ethical duty to do our best to fully vet a matter before we file charges on anyone.   We hope to have this investigation wrapped up soon, but it’s undetermined an actual date.”

Harrington’s attorney issued the following statement Monday about the officer’s firing:

“While this incident is a tragedy for all involved, Officer Harrington’s actions were consistent with his Department’s use of force policies and procedures. He took reasonable and necessary action to protect himself from imminent danger. Officer Harrington disagrees with the decision to discharge his employment, but is confident his name will be eventually cleared. There will be no further comment from either McCauley & Roach, LLC or Officer Harrington.”

Leavenworth County Todd Thompson’s full statement: 

Leavenworth Police Department Patrick Kitchens released a statement regarding the termination of Officer Matthew Harrington stemming from incidents on July 11, 2017 between then Officer Harrington and Antonio Garcia Jr.

The Leavenworth County Attorney’s office is reviewing this matter and is still awaiting requested information.  The criminal investigation is independent of the Leavenworth Police Department’s investigation, due to theirs being an internal investigation and ours is being handled by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation as well as an independent expert.

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.   We have an ethical duty to do our best to fully vet a matter before we file charges on anyone.   We hope to have this investigation wrapped up soon, but it’s undetermined an actual date.

Again, anyone being investigated is innocent until proven guilty.