Family of Newton man killed by police files lawsuit

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William "Matt" Holmes William "Matt" Holmes
NEWTON, Kan. (KAKE) -

The family of a Newton man killed by police last year is now suing the police and sheriff's deputies who responded.

Matthew Holmes was involved in a stolen car chase last August. His family isn't disputing that.

What they are saying through their attorney is that Holmes was cooperating with officers when he was shot and killed.

Police body camera video shows the tense moments last August when Newton Police stopped a vehicle with suspected ties to car burglary, after a high-speed chase.

24-year-old Matt Holmes was in the driver's seat.

He's seen getting out of the vehicle. Police approach him, and officers and Holmes scuffle.

"We think the video speaks for itself on that, that at no time did it appear that Matt reached for a gun," said Josh Loevy, the attorney for Holmes' family.

At one point, a deputy fired his gun, hitting Holmes in the back.

Holmes' family has filed a lawsuit, claiming he was beaten by officers while he lay dying from that gunshot wound.

But at the time, police said the shooting was justified.

"When the driver did exit, he was very aggressive, he took an aggressive stance and began taunting the officers," said Lt. Bryan Hall, with Newton Police, in August 2017.

Police said at the time that Holmes tried to take an officer's gun, and the deputy "felt compelled to use lethal force."

The attorney says the family was told in December that no criminal charges would be filed in Holmes' death.

"The justice starts today. Getting Matt's story heard, getting it to the public, to the community, emphasizing that these things are continuing to happen, not just across the country, but in Kansas and right next door," said Loevy.

Loevy also said Holmes' mother was employed by the Newton Police Department and that police knew Holmes suffered from schizophrenia and was sometimes not taking his medicine.

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