On December 29th, 2017 The Wichita Eagle reported that Kansas police had killed an innocent man on December 28th, 2017. The police were responding to a dispatch where they believed a young man had shot his father in the head, was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint, and was ready to pour gasoline on the floor and set the house ablaze. Police showed up at the residence, and after asking the man to step outside, fired a shot and killed him. It turns out that the call was a prank and they killed an innocent man.
In the report it was indicated that the swatting prank was initiated over a game of Call of Duty. According to information collected by Kotaku in Action user B-Volleyball-Ready, two teammates got into a heated argument, and one threatened to swat the other. The one who was threatened gave out a fake address, and the other one who threatened to call in the swat actually did so using the fake address. However, a certain Andrew Finch lived at said address. According to Finch’s family, he was not a gamer and did not play Call of Duty.
After the prank call went through the service center, an officer was dispatched to the scene, and called for the 28-year-old Andrew to come out of the house.
Andrew Finch went to the door. It was a chilly Thursday night in Kansas. A dead calm rushed through the cloud-canvassed air, as stillness briefly fell over the Finch household. Andrew confusedly saw the blinding lights of blue and red circling through the windows like a disco ball of death. With his hand on the doorknob, Finch turned… not too hastily, not too slowly, but just right. Little did he know that the door would betray his trust, working as the grim reaper’s gateway toward an unfathomable fate.
Footage of the fatal shooting can be viewed below.
Some people argued that the pranksters should be jailed and tried for manslaughter. Others put the onus on the police, saying that America’s militarized police force is out of hand.
Ricky S. Johson seemed to sum up the situation in a way that many people agreed with, writing…
“It’s horrifying that some subculture of gamers finds it funny to “SWAT” people with false reports, and now a man is dead because of it. Everybody involved should go to prison for a long, long time.
“But it’s even more horrifying that every small-town police force in the country has a so-called “SWAT team” of untrained trigger-happy adrenaline-junkies, whose response to totally-unconfirmed calls is to show up and immediately kill somebody. Or if they manage to not kill a person, maybe they’ll just shoot a family’s dog for their amusement. And the results are hardly much better when they’re executing real search warrants, rubber-stamped by some worthless judge based on an “anonymous tip” and maybe, if they’re lucky, executed at the right address.
“SWAT teams were originally a big-city rarity intended for hostage situations and bank robbers and the like, and it’s sensible to have them for that purpose. That they have become routine and commonly used for petty non-violent crimes and executing search warrants, is a travesty with a body count, regardless of their gullibility for murder-pranks.”
I think if we put the responsibility on media networks not to report fake news due to how harmful it can be and how it can ruin lives – like the Duke Lacrosse story or the UVA rape case that Rolling Stone peddled – I think that it’s equally as important for police to utilize equal measures in assessing and fact-checking their surroundings before using lethal force. The excuse that they were fed faulty info from pranksters is no excuse to end an innocent man’s life, no different than Rolling Stone running a story based on false info to ruin the lives of many innocent young men.
According to KWCH12 [via Ian Miles Cheong], the police apprehended the prank caller who attempted to swat his teammate. Said prankster was a certain Tyler “SWAuTistic” Bariss, aged 25, and he was arrested in Los Angeles, California.
(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)