swatting

Wichita, KS – As the fallout of the tragic case in which a man was shot and killed by police in an apparent case of “swatting” begins, the suspect responsible for the 911 call will likely face criminal charges, but the officers responsible for the shooting will likely walk free.

Andrew 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.

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.

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, they took his claims seriously and deployed a SWAT team to the residence.

Barriss was arrested on a felony warrant, and a report from The Wichita Eagle noted that he will likely face charges for “making a fake emergency call,” which is a crime under Kansas law that can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony.

“The crime is a felony when a caller disguises his or her identity using an electronic device or software and in cases where a caller falsely reports violent criminal activity or an immediate threat to a person’s life. The maximum sentence a person convicted under the felony version of the law would receive is probation or less than three years in prison. Other potential state court charges depend on the fake story a swatter tells. Someone who calls in a bomb scare, for example, could be charged with criminal threat.”

The report also noted that there is a chance Barriss could be charged with Finch’s death. If prosecutors pursued a homicide charge, it would likely be second-degree reckless murder or manslaughter. However, The Eagle claimed that it is not likely Barriss will face those charges “if the shooting by the officer is deemed justified.”

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 man.

The officer, who has yet to be publicly identified, will likely claim that he was dispatched to the residence under the belief that he was preparing to apprehend a highly dangerous man who had just committed murder and was holding his family hostage. He will then claim that when that man walked out onto the front porch and reached for his waistband, it made the officer “fear for his life.” Thanks to a history of officers who have used that excuse, it is likely that this shooting will be deemed “justified.”

While police kill around 1,000 people each year, Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, noted that between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers have been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings,” and during that time, only 35 percent were convicted.

Stinson also claimed in 2016 that since 2005, “there have only been 13 officers convicted of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings.” That number was zero in both 2014 and 2015.

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 did not threaten him in any way, and he opened fire on a house when he believed there were family members inside.

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Rachel Blevins is an independent journalist from Texas, who aspires to break the false left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Steemit and Patreon.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I think it should be pointed out that the cops were set up across the street, hiding behind a vehicle. They were also covered in body armor and loaded down with weapons and yet STILL didn’t feel brave enough to let an innocent man live for moving his hands the wrong way.

    For all you fucknuts who are about to come here and argue “but he had no way of knowing,” FUCK THAT. They’re cops whose job it is to INVESTIGATE crimes, not run in shooting at them. What they actually and literally had “no way of knowing” was whether this guy was the suspect, a hostage, or just some guy who had nothing to do with anything. (Oopsie!)

  2. NoNoNo!
    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.

    He NEVER dials 911 – that is difficult to spoof because the system uses tracking.
    He dials some other police or non-911 emergency number spoofing the number or using skype.
    I know of NO case of SWATting where an actual 911 call was placed.
    The Police should know that and it should have been a red flag, so they are responsible for not suspecting a hoax call.

  3. the funny thing about this business is how perpetrators know police are trigger happy and lusting to kill on these calls so they know pretty much in advance the victim will die at police hands. police chiefs need to retrain their men to refrain from acting on their kill jolly impulses. but police love their kill jolly too much to change. however they became fools in this event and now the public is well aware a swatting call is almost certainly a death sentence.

  4. The cop who shot this innocent man should be tried for murder and the whole SWAT team should be disbanded, as they are all trigger happy and a waste of taxpayers money!

  5. I think the reason the guy was shot had to do with the possibility that there were other potential victims at risk, not so much that they thought he had the actual ability to harm them. The officer that pulled the trigger did so with incomplete information, and should have waited. It was a bad shoot, imo. Based on what they were told, I don’t see him getting charged.

    As for the asshole that called this in, he should do some serious time with serious criminals. See how funny his prank is when he is eating some crank in the clink. And numbers can be spoofed to look like they come from that area code, and even if it had a Cali area code, so what? People move and travel all the time, so having a cellphone with a different area code mean something nothing. Also, our 911 can not usually pick up cell phone numbers, only land lines.

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