5 years after the police killed 28-year-old father of 2 Andrew Finch, the city of Wichita has finally agreed to a $5 million settlement with his family. Finch’s death occurred as a result of a swatting prank that was reported by a $1.50 bet on Call of Duty, and in which Finch was not involved. The sad incident shocked the entire world for being the first fatal case of swatting in the history of the United States.
The settlement was announced last week after a civil lawsuit was filed against Justin Rapp, the officer who fired the gun in the incident. Prosecutors initially decided not to file charges against the Wichita police officer; however, Finch’s family filed their own lawsuit, which was continued by a federal court that dismissed Rapp’s qualified immunity arguments.
The night Finch was killed, SWAT officers arrived at his home after being tipped off by Tyler Barriss, an infamous swatter with a history of false calls, about a violent hostage situation that was, of course, fabricated.
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The incident is related to Call of Duty because it happened after 2 Call of Duty: WWII players ―Casey Viner and Shane Gaskil― got into a fight after betting $1.50 in a game. Barriss asked Gaskill for his address with the intent of swatting, but did not receive the correct address. According to court records, Gaskill intentionally provided a false address and prompted Barris to “try something.”
This led the police to Finch’s house, who answered the door completely unarmed and with no idea what was going on. After opening the door, Finch was hit by a gunshot wound from Rapp’s gun. The policeman argued that he attacked the civilian because he believed that he was going to take a weapon.
After this unfortunate event that ended Finch’s life, Barris was sentenced to 20 years in prison. For his part, Viner received a 15-month sentence and Gaskill was released on probation. What happened to Rapp? He received a promotion.
The practice of swatting, in which criminals call the police and report a false threat in order to provoke a massive police response, has been a growing problem in recent years. In addition to the Finch tragedy, there have been numerous cases of swatting across the United States, leading to the creation of new laws to penalize violators. Let’s hope the right steps continue to be taken so this doesn’t take more lives.
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