Authorities have decided not to file charges against a Wichita police officer who shot and killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch last December, the reports. The deadly confrontation occurred after a man made a hoax 911 call posing as a deranged gunman who was holding his family hostage.
Police say the caller was Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old Los Angeles man with a history of engaging in similar stunts.
The officer who shot Finch has not been identified. But District Attorney Marc Bennett said on Thursday that he saw Finch reaching toward his waistband and believed that he was reaching for a weapon. In reality, Finch was unarmed.
US law is deferential to the police in this kind of situation. Officers are permitted to use deadly force if they have a reasonable fear for their lives, and prosecutors rarely second-guess police judgments.
We now know Finch wasn’t armed, but the police officer didn’t know that at the time. Based on the 911 call, police believed they were confronting a gunman who had already killed his father and was holding other family members at gunpoint.
Finch’s family wasn’t happy with the decision not to prosecute the officer.
“The family’s devastated, and the family is disappointed by the decision of the district attorney today,” the family’s attorney said.
“It is our perspective that the video [shows] that there is no threat to the officers or anyone else,” the lawyer argued. “Andrew Finch had nothing to do with the swatting call or the prank call, and he was an innocent victim of a completely unreasonable and unjustified use of force.”
The family plans to press forward with a lawsuit against the city and the police department.