Wichita — A man who recently reached a $4.75 million settlement with the city after he was shot and paralyzed by a Wichita officer accused investigators in the case of covering up police incompetence.
Matt Clay, who this month accepted a $4.75 million settlement from the city, said Officer Matthew McGuire did not need to fire the shot on Feb. 27, 2004, that severed Clay's spinal cord.
"Officer McGuire had no good reason to shoot, and the settlement shows that," Clay said as he spoke publicly about the case for the first time during a news conference Saturday in Wichita.
Clay and his lawyers also said they disagreed with city claims that the settlement was not an indication of any wrongdoing by Wichita police.
"I'm here to tell you this is an incorrect statement," said one of the lawyers, Pedro Irigonegaray of Topeka. "Officer McGuire did a lot wrong.
"The investigation ranks as possibly the worst I have ever seen. Officer McGuire committed a terrible act of incompetence, and he's still out there."
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Tom Stolz said McGuire resigned from the department early this year, largely because of the fallout from the lawsuit.
Stolz said he disagreed with their allegations of incompetence.
"Suffice it to say it's hard being a police officer. The decisions they may make on the street are often very difficult."
Stolz said his department followed its policy for when officers are involved in serious incidents by asking two agencies - the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office - to handle the criminal investigation.
"Both of those agencies found there was no criminal wrongdoing" by police, he said.
Irigonegaray said the KBI investigation was superficial.
"They did nothing but rubber-stamp the statements made by" officers, he said.