Lawsuit over fatal 2017 Call of Duty swatting incident ends in $5 million settlement

midian182

Posts: 8,812   +110
Staff member
What just happened? More than five years after 28-year-old Andrew Finch was killed by police in the first fatal US swatting incident, the city of Wichita, Kansas, has reached a $5 million settlement with the family in a federal lawsuit against police detective Justin Rapp, who killed Finch on the victim's front porch.

Finch's death was the result of two men's $1.50 wager on a Call of Duty: WWII match that took place on December 28, 2017. Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill had been playing on the same team when an argument about friendly fire culminated in Viner threatening to 'swat' Gaskill - the act of making a hoax 911 call in the hope it leads to armed responders turning up at a person's home.

Gaskill tauntingly provided an address, but unbeknownst to Viner, it was a previous home. Viner contacted Tyler Barriss - known online as "SWAuTistic" - and provided the address he thought was Gaskill's. Barriss informed 911 that he had fatally shot his father and was holding other family members hostage, prompting a swift armed response from the Wichita police.

When the police arrived at the residence and surrounded the house, Finch, who knew none of those involved in the events that led to this point, opened the door to investigate the commotion. Unarmed and unaware of what was happening, he stepped onto his porch and was shot and killed instantly by police officer Rapp, who was 40 yards away.

Andrew Finch

Rapp later told investigators he shot Finch to protect the other officers surrounding the house after he thought Finch reached for a gun in his waistline. No criminal charges were brought against Rapp – he was promoted to detective in 2022. The Finch family filed a lawsuit against the city in 2018.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the city was eventually dismissed from the lawsuit, leaving Rapp as the sole defendant, but it remained responsible for Rapp's legal costs. The city council voted 6-1 in favor of the $5 million settlement.

The city is paying $2 million of that amount, including $500,000 from its self-insurance fund and $1.5 million from the City Council's "rainy day" reserve fund. The remainder is coming from its insurance company.

"I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to the activists who fought for myself and my children for five long years," said Tawny Unruh, the mother of Finch's two children. "To the mayor and council who voted in favor of my children, thank you for making sure that my family can move on from this nightmare and begin to heal. We will never forget or understand why our Andy had to die but are grateful for all of the support we've received from our community."

Barriss, who was 25 years old at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges in 2018. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison a year later. Viner, the man who gave Barris the address, was given a 15-month sentence, while Gaskill received a deferred prosecution that involved meeting certain conditions to avoid being charged. KSN.com reports that he violated the terms of the deal and was later sentenced to 18 months.

Permalink to story.

 

RudyBob

Posts: 1,050   +1,110
The shoot now and ask questions later police do more harm than good protecting the innocent.
They protect their fellow officers as they would want to protected. Writing "shoot now ask later" means to me you are ill informed and molded by propaganda. Go Blue!!
 

antiproduct

Posts: 275   +364
Too bad the cops don't do a small amount of investigating of the situation and the information source before showing up to kill people. Like if only there was some role in their organization to investigate things.... but nah, guns out and ready to kill people is so much more fun I guess.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 1,270   +2,398
Too bad the cops don't do a small amount of investigating of the situation and the information source before showing up to kill people. Like if only there was some role in their organization to investigate things.... but nah, guns out and ready to kill people is so much more fun I guess.

Yep, that's what they do. Run around with guns out and shoot. Clearly you don't understand the situation. That's okay, you should really research into these things to get a better understanding.

SWAT was called out to a possible hostage situation; information provided that the person there is armed, already shot & killed someone and is holding others hostage. They don't go up to the door and give a gentle knock and ask what the problem is, they are going in based information provided to them and what they know is that they are walking into a dangerous situation where their lives are on the line, along with possible other innocent people's - they do what they're trained to do. Unfortunately in this situation an innocent person was killed because the initial call was a prank.

In your suggestion, they should have better vetted the information. Doing this means that if the situation is real, they're wasting time where others possible hostages are in mortal danger and the end result could mean others die while the information is being vetted. This possible solution makes people mad and they scream at the cops for not doing their job fast enough and they let innocent people die.

The other suggestion is, take the call as true and go in as fast as you can to try and save more lives. This possible solution can result in an unfortunate death, but gives the fastest action. This will also result in people screaming at cops about how they are all gun happy and are out to murder people.

Unfortunately, in today's society, cops cannot win. They're constantly blasted on social media, they're treated like crap, people scream for them to be fired. Then you have cities moving to defund police, then they turn around a year or two later upset that they can't keep a police force to help citizens.

So, since you have the answers - what is the best approach to a situation like this? What would you do if you were in the shoes of the SWAT team that would give swift action and minimum number of bad incidents?
 

Skjorn

Posts: 764   +637
They protect their fellow officers as they would want to protected. Writing "shoot now ask later" means to me you are ill informed and molded by propaganda. Go Blue!!
Protect them from what exactly? Their own lack of competence for not knowing it was some dude playing call of duty? Did you just cheer for this swat murder?
 

Aus spot

Posts: 170   +168
They protect their fellow officers as they would want to protected. Writing "shoot now ask later" means to me you are ill informed and molded by propaganda. Go Blue!!

This seems to be a comment based on a halo effect of the positional power of police.

The officer stuffed up clearly. 5million USD says so. We have seen on multiple occasions that officers get trigger happy. This is somewhat understandable in an environment of high gun usage and lower than best levels of training.

Yes police went in based on totally false information. They did not check the information or go in with any open mind. They shot an innocent unarmed man. And based on the information, that man did absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment.

Seems ignorant to always support team blue when facing evidence they make mistakes, they have proved they include bad actors etc.
 

VectorVortec

Posts: 9   +5
I watched the video, and it wasn't like this story portrayed. Finch came out of the house. The police told him to put his hands up. He did. Then the police told him to come towards them. Finch had to go down some steps and slightly dropped his hands as he did so. That is what triggered the shot. For sure, no one was in any type of danger, except Finch.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,576   +8,876
Personally, the hoaxer's should have received THE harshest penality for aiding and abetting a murder and any form of "swatting" should have a manditory sentence of 20 years. There is simply no way this could accidentally happen.
 

sdms96825

Posts: 438   +161
WTF? 15 months and a deferred prosecution of the two others?

All three of these morons should have been sentenced to at least a decade in prison where they could play video games all day.