Wichita, KS – In December, police responded to a prank call, also known as a "swatting," at the home of Andrew Finch. When the entirely innocent and unarmed Finch answered the door during the raid, an unnamed officer was recorded on video killing him in cold blood. Now, as the coverage has died down in the press, and as TFTP accurately predicted in
January, the Wichita District Attorney announced that there will be no charges.
According to Kansascity.com, on Thursday, District Attorney Marc Bennett said he had to make a determination based on Kansas law and law handed down by the Supreme Court, which says that when determining if an officer acted reasonably, evidence has to be reviewed based on what the officer knew at the time of the shooting, not 20/20 hindsight, he said.
The DA's office also stated that they will keep the officer's name a secret because he will not be charged. During a press conference on Thursday, the Wichita police department released multiple other body cameras showing the summary execution of Finch. Those videos are below.
As TFTP reported at the time, Finch, 28, was shot and killed for the crime of opening his front door when a slew of SWAT team members arrived at his home and claimed that he “reached towards his waistband,” possibly preparing to retrieve a weapon. However, the father of two was unarmed, and the reason officers were at this house had nothing to do with him.
Finch was shot 10 seconds after he opened the door.
"Shots fired. One Down. Confirming. It's the suspect?" dispatch asks.
"Don't know," a WPD sergeant responds, according to a report released by Bennett.
The 911 call was placed by Tyler Barriss, 25, a man who had never met Finch and who lived nearly 1,400 miles away in Los Angeles, California. Barriss has a history of “swatting,” or calling 911 to file a false report about a fake emergency that includes murder or hostages, prompting the deployment of a SWAT Team. While the FBI claims that around 400 swatting incidents occur each year, reports claim that Barriss has made a significant contribution and has spent time in jail for making fake bomb threats.
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In fact, Barriss even went by the username “SWAuTistic” online. He made a call to police on Dec. 28 claiming that he had just murdered his father, and was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint, after covering the house in gasoline with the intent to set it on fire. Barriss used Finch’s residence, which had been given out during an argument on a Call of Duty game online that neither Barriss, nor Finch, were involved with directly.
Despite the fact that police should have been able to see that Barriss was not located in the state of Kansas when he made the call, they took his claims seriously and deployed a SWAT team to the residence.
Barriss was arrested on a felony warrant shortly after police killed Finch. He has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter for Finch's death, giving false alarm, and interfering with law enforcement.
What about the officer who pulled the trigger? All of the attention surrounding the fact that this shooting resulted from a “swatting” prank has covered up the fact that the shooting itself was carried out by a police officer who shot and killed an innocent, unarmed father.
The family's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, who has since file a civil rights lawsuit against the police department said it was a difficult call to make to tell the family of Finch that the officer who took their father and son's life won't be charged.
"When we received the information from the district attorney, I called Lisa (Finch's mother) and told her the decision," said Stroth.
"The family's devastated and the family is disappointed by the decision of the district attorney today," he said.
The murder of Andrew Finch was tragic, and while Tyler Barriss should be held accountable for his actions, that should not take away from the fact that a police officer shot and killed a man who never once put threatened their lives or tried to hurt them. Not to mention the fact that he opened fire on a house when he believed there were family members inside.