The family of an unarmed Kansas man fatally shot by a police sniper after a prank call is suing the city of Wichita and the officers responsible for his death.
The mother and sister of 28-year-old Andrew Finch pinned the brunt of the blame for his death on the city and 10 unnamed police officers dispatched to the deadly Dec. 28 hoax, according to a federal suit filed Monday.
The man who dialed the fake emergency from California painted a grisly, but false crime unfolding inside the West McCormick St. home in retaliation to a dispute over their “Call of Duty” video game tournament. The caller claimed Finch had shot his father and was threatening to burn down the home, kill his mother and then himself.
The reality was far from the disgruntled caller’s erroneous tale.
An attorney for the Finch family said he spent his final moments “enjoying a peaceful evening with his mother, niece and two friends” as police surrounded his home.
“Shortly after opening the front door to see what was happening outside, he lost his life to a single bullet fired from a police sniper’s rifle fifty yards away,” according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court of Kansas.
The claim seeks unspecified damages related to Finch’s death.
A frame grab from the Wichita Police Department body cam from the fatal shooting of Andrew Finch.
“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 Chicago civil rights attorney Andrew Stroth.
The suit claims Wichita police used excessive force in responding to Finch’s home, and that officers were inadequately trained in seeing through prank calls known as “swatting.”
“How can Wichita police department officers not be trained to deal with this type of situation,” Stroth said. “Swatting is not new, prank calls are not new.”
Tyler Barriss, 25, was arrested in connection to the hoax call made in Los Angeles. He gave a different description of the house police surrounded in Wichita. Stroth argues police should have noticed the difference before an officer opened fire from 40 to 50 yards away.
Finch was told to put his hands up and move slowly, police said. An officer, fearing for his life, opened fire after Finch allegedly moved a hand toward his waistband.
With News Wire Services