The grief-stricken family of a Black man killed by a fired police officer in Kansas last year was considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Matthew Harrington, 25, was terminated in January after he killed Antonio Garcia, Jr., 47, during a domestic dispute investigation last July. He was indicted in the fatal shooting, prosecutors announced Monday. Garcia’s family had some sense of closure that Harrington was formally charged. However, they thought more serious charges would come, according to The Associated Press.
“They are relieved that there are finally some charges being filed,” Ken Barnes, one of the attorneys representing Garcia’s family, said. “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.”
Harrington, of Henderson, Nevada, who made his first court appearance Monday, was released on $50,000 bond, Leavenworth County Prosecutor Todd Thompson said. The appearance came months after the fatal shooting incident.
The officer had been ordered to Garcia’s home after a domestic dispute broke out there. Garcia, who police said had left the residence but returned to find Harrington at the home, was stopped by the officer. Harrington tried to prevent Garcia from leaving in his SUV when the cop fatally shot the man.
Harrington was later axed for being in “violation of the department’s use of deadly force policy,” Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said. The cop’s attorneys defended his actions, saying that there was a “clear and imminent threat” at the time.
Garcia’s family has sued to obtain a copy of the video of the fatal shooting after only a few relatives had viewed the footage. Whether the family will definitely file a wrongful death lawsuit was currently unclear.