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The Hidden Police Violence Epidemic Behind a ‘Swatting’ Death

Wichita Police SWAT officers train for wounded officer retrieval under fire using the department's new Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport vehicle at the Wichita Sedgwick County Firearms Training Facility Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. PHOTO: The Wichita Eagle

By Aviva Shen | 16 May 2018

THE APPEAL — On December 28, 2017, 28-year-old Andrew Finch of Wichita, Kansas, opened his front door to a horde of shouting police officers. Ten seconds later, he was fatally shot in the head — yet the officer who pulled the trigger isn’t the one being charged with his death.

The events of that tragic late December day were set in motion by three Call of Duty gamers fighting over a $1.50 wager. One gamer, Tyler Barriss, prank-called Wichita 911, saying he was suicidal, had killed his father, and was holding others hostage at the address that one of the other gamers had provided as his own. But the target of the prank didn’t actually live there; Andrew Finch and his family did.

At approximately 5 p.m. that day, 10 Wichita police officers and three deputies surrounded the house. When Finch exited the home to see what the commotion was about, he threw his hands into the air in surrender. But then, after becoming startled, he put one hand down for a second. That’s when a police sniper fired from 50 yards away, killing him.

Immediately after shooting Finch, the officers ordered his family to come out of their home with their hands up, and even forced his young niece to walk over her dying uncle’s body, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed in January in federal court on behalf of Finch’s mother. The family members were then handcuffed and forced to wait outside in below-freezing temperatures for over an hour, interrogated, and released without explanation. […]

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