The family of a Kansas man killed by police responding to a hoax “swatting” call have sued the police officers who killed him as well as the city of Wichita, the Associated Press reported.
Police killed Andrew Finch, 28, on Dec. 28 after receiving a hoax call claiming a man in a neighboring house had killed his father and was holding his family hostage. Finch’s family filed a lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court of Kansas, seeking an unspecified amount in damages, according to the AP. The family hopes the lawsuit will help trigger reforms that could curb the dangers of “swatting” in the future.
“The family wants justice and reform — they want to make sure Andy’s legacy means something and maybe some other family won’t have to experience the tragedy they are experiencing because of a change in policy and procedures,” said civil rights attorney Andrew Stroth, who represents the family.
The fake report which lead to Finch’s death came from a California man who was angry at losing a Call of Duty (C0D) match. He obtained what he thought was his opponent’s address online and then called police to his house, a practice known as “swatting.” The incorrect address belonged to Finch, and police shot him at his front door.
“Two children — a 7-year-old boy and an almost 2-year-old girl — lost their father because of the unjustified and unconstitutional acts of the Wichita Police Department as well as the policies, practices and custom of the WPD,” Stroth said.
Los Angeles Police arrested 25-year-old Tyler Barriss for making the initial “swatting” call. Barriss allegedly got into a fight with another CoD player and threatened to “swat” the person. The other player then provided an address that wasn’t actually their own. Barris allegedly made good on his threat and called in a false report to Wichita emergency authorities, claiming he had shot his father and was holding his mother and sister hostage at the address.
Police responding to the incident believed Finch was highly dangerous and armed. Police say they instructed Finch to raise his hands above his head, but that Finch made a motion toward his waistband. Finch was unarmed.
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