The Washington Post

Settlement approved in fatal SWAT shooting


The city of Wichita on Tuesday approved a $5 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was shot and killed by a police officer during a hoax call in 2017.

The settlement will go to the two children of 28-year-old Andrew Finch, who was shot by officer Justin Rapp as he stepped out of his house on Dec. 28, 2017, to see why it was surrounded by police.

Finch, who was unarmed, was shot by Rapp within 10 seconds of opening his door. Rapp has said that he thought Finch had a gun.

Finch’s death drew national attention to “swatting,” a form of retaliatio­n in which someone reports a false emergency to get authoritie­s, particular­ly a SWAT team, to respond to an address.

Investigat­ors later determined the call was the result of a feud between two online gamers over a video game, Shane Gaskill of Wichita and Ohio gamer Casey Viner.

Authoritie­s said Viner recruited Tyler R. Barriss to “swat” Gaskill. Barriss, a Los Angeles man who was known online for “swatting,” called police from Los Angeles to falsely report a shooting and kidnapping at the Wichita address.

But the address they used was old, leading police to Finch, who was not involved in the dispute or playing the video game.

Barriss is serving 20 years in federal prison, and Viner was sentenced to 15 months. Shane Gaskill was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.

Rapp was not charged and was later promoted from officer to detective. The city was dropped from the lawsuit but was responsibl­e for Rapp’s legal costs.

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