LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, announced a public records lawsuit Monday.
“The suit is a direct result of the shooting death of Antonio Garcia Jr. at the hands of a Leavenworth Police Department officer on July 11, 2017,” a statement from his law firm said Monday.
Crump made his announcement on the front steps of the Wyandotte County Courthouse. You can replay that announcement in the video player at the bottom of the page.
In his announcement, Crump demanded that the state release all documents and the body camera video showing the shooting.
“Don’t say no more, show the video,” Crump said before allowing the other present attorneys the opportunity to speak.
Garcia’s daughter, Antoinette, was at the announcement.
“We as the family would just like answers,” she said. “We want to know why this happened. We want the truth to come out about our father. And, we just want answers as any victim’s family would want. So we are here today, and we’re asking, we’re pleading for it. We need those answers.”
The Leavenworth Police Department fired the officer who was involved after their investigation revealed that he violated the department’s deadly force policy while responding to the call.
Officer Matthew Harrington was responding to a domestic dispute on Rose Street on July 11, 2017 when he came across 47-year-old Antonio Garcia at that address in an SUV in the driveway.
The officer had what police refer to as an ‘encounter’ with Garcia. At some point the officer fired his weapon and killed Garcia.
“The officer responded to what was originally he thought to be a stolen automobile report, it turned out to be a domestic incident…and there was an encounter in the driveway, and the officer discharged his weapon, shooting and killing the person,” said Patrick Kitchens, the Police Chief of the Leavenworth Police Department.
The officer involved had been with the department for approximately two years. He graduated the Kansas Law Enforcement Academy in 2016. He does not face any charges connected to this shooting.
Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson issued a statement after the Leavenworth Police Department fired the officer. Thompson added that the county attorney’s investigation is separate from the police department’s investigation, and at that time–January– it was unclear 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 in January after the officer was fired:
“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.
Replay the full lawsuit announcement: