The Wichita police officer who shot and killed a man last year while responding to what turned out to be a prank call will not face charges, the district attorney’s office announced.
The shooting death of Andrew Finch, 28, in December 2017 drew national attention after a California man was arrested for allegedly making the call to Wichita authorities that led them to respond to Finch’s home.
“The shooting should not have happened,” Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a statement Thursday. “But this officer’s decision was made in the context of the false call.”
Swatting is the act of making a false police report – usually of an urgent or violent crime – to lure law enforcement or SWAT teams to a location.
Finch’s family, which later sued the city of Wichita and the police department, expressed disappointment with the decision.
“Andy was unjustifiably and unconstitutionally executed in the sanctity of his home,” Andrew Stroth, an attorney for Finch’s family, said in a statement. He added that the family would “continue to pursue the truth and justice with the civil rights lawsuit pending in federal court.”
“Two young children no longer have their father because of the policies and practices of the Wichita Police Department,” the family statement said.
In the lawsuit, Finch’s mother, Lisa, said the officers who responded to the home were inadequately trained and used excessive force.
In his report, Bennett said that charging the officer, who has not been named, “would require evidence – not 20/20 hindsight – that it was unreasonable for him to believe in that moment that the man who came to the door posed a risk to the officers near the house.”
“Given the evidence provided to the officers by dispatch and Mr. Finch’s physical movements after opening the door, there is insufficient evidence to establish that (the officer) acted in an unreasonable manner in the defense of the officers east of the house,” Bennett said.
Tyler Barriss, the 25-year-old accused of making the “swatting” call, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. A judge has set his bond at $500,000.
Man allegedly made prank call after online argument
It appears the prank call stemmed from an online multiplayer session of the the video game “Call of Duty: WWII.”
According to court documents, one member of the gaming community – identified only by his Twitter name Baperize – threatened to swat another when they got into a dispute. As they were “talking trash,” the threatened gamer, identified by his initials SG, posted Finch’s address, according to the affidavit.
It’s not clear why. Finch didn’t even play video games, according to his family.
Baperize then provided the address to Barriss, and asked him to swat the player.
Barriss, who later admitted to making the call, told dispatchers that he “shot his dad in the head and that he was not breathing.” He also said he was holding his brother, sister and mother hostage.
A man who claims to know Barriss through the gaming community told CNN that Barriss had a reputation “for doing stuff like that.” The source did not want to give his name for fear of backlash from fellow gamers.
When police arrived at the given address, Finch opened the door and an officer fired his weapon moments later. Police said they shot Finch after he moved his hands to his waistline, according to Wichita police Deputy Chief Troy Livingston. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
CNN’s Eliott McLaughlin contributed to this report.