More than two hours of footage of a police shooting in Leavenworth shows an emotionally charged scene just seconds after former officer Matthew Harrington fired into a vehicle, killing Antonio Garcia Jr., 47.
“I shot a suspect multiple times,” Harrington can be heard saying over his radio.
Garcia’s wife rushes out of the house and repeatedly shouts, “You shot him.
“You killed him. Oh my God,” she moaned.
On Friday, the Leavenworth Police Department released more than two hours of body and dash cam footage.
Harrington was charged with manslaughter in the July 11, 2017 shooting. A mistrial was declared on Wednesday after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.
On Thursday, the police department said it plans to release body camera footage on Friday morning.
Harrington’s defense attorneys filed a motion Thursday night arguing that his release would be ‘inappropriate’ and ‘would make it more difficult to assemble a sufficient number of potential jurors who have no prior knowledge of the specific facts of the case. affair”.
The Star filed a motion to intervene saying the public has a right to see the recordings.
“Obviously the video is subject to various interpretations, which is precisely why members of the public should be allowed to view the recording for themselves and come to their own conclusion about what the recording shows,” wrote lawyer Bernard Rhodes. “It is the essence of an orderly democracy, in which an informed public can decide for itself on matters of public interest.”
A judge ruled early Friday that the body camera videos can be released. The police department posted a 52-second clip taken from Harrington’s body camera on the Town of Leavenworth’s YouTube page around 1 p.m. Officials also released the full body camera and dash cam videos on Friday, totaling about 150 minutes.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for May 4 where a new trial date could be decided.
Harrington was called in to investigate a domestic dispute involving a vehicle stolen from Garcia’s home in the 1700 block of Rose Street. Family members reportedly argued at home.
Garcia met Harrington after returning home. In the video, Harrington is seen walking towards Garcia as he is parked in the driveway of the SUV.
Prosecutors said Garcia had a knife in her lap but did not threaten Harrington. In the audio, Harrington was heard saying “Put that knife away” as Garcia closed the door and the two men struggled.
Harrington fired several shots into the SUV as it backed up.
The shooting happened 32 seconds after Harrington first approached Garcia, according to earlier testimony.
Harrington’s body camera shows Garcia’s wife, Heather Garcia, rushing to the SUV after the gunfire.
“I’m a nurse,” she shouts after Harrington tells her to come back. “He is dead.”
A few minutes later, she is escorted out of the vehicle by other officers who have arrived at the scene.
In the dash cam recording, Heather Garcia is heard saying she was handcuffed.
“I just saw him shoot my husband in the head,” she said.
“That’s not right.”
In the body camera video, Harrington tells another officer, “I don’t wanna be here, man.”
The officer escorts him to a patrol vehicle.
“I hope he’s not dead, man,” Harrington said. “I hope he’s not dead. I just didn’t want to be touched.
The other officer begins to question Harrington about his trip to Alaska.
Several minutes later, Harrington said, “Man, I wish that never happened.”
Later he asks, “Why does this have to happen to me?”
Another officer then escorts Harrington to another patrol vehicle to the police station and the video ends.
Previous court proceedings have taken place to determine whether Harrington would enjoy legal immunity under Kansas law. At the time, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent testified as an expert witness that Harrington should have walked away from the situation and called in reinforcements instead of opening fire. The agent testified that Garcia posed no threat to Harrington.
Garcia’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Leavenworth alleging wrongful death and violation of his civil rights. It sold for $1 million in 2019.
This story was originally published April 22, 2022 4 p.m.