Criminal Justice

A Cop Killed an Innocent Man After a 'Swatting' Prank Call. The City Can't Be Sued.

"It gives cities a protection that ordinary citizens never have."

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On a chilly December evening in 2017, a group of Wichita cops surrounded a modest house on West McCormick Street. They were there in response to what was purportedly a gruesome hostage situation: a father shot dead, a mother in danger, and a son threatening to burn everything down.

When Andrew Finch opened the door to his home, a sniper rifle killed him within seconds. Thirty minutes passed before anyone rendered emergency aid. Cops handcuffed his mother, sister, niece, and two friends outside in 24 degree weather for over an hour. But Finch was not the son the police were after, nor were he and his family involved in any crisis.

That's because there was no crisis. Around 5:00 p.m. that day, in a prank known as "swatting," a California caller had dialed the Wichita Police Department (WPD) and reported a work of fiction, doling out the address and setting the chaos in motion. 

The officers involved failed to do the basics before exercising lethal force on an innocent man, according to a lawsuit filed by the family. The suit says the officers subverted department policy by declining to call a SWAT team, opted not to conduct any sort of inquiry despite "obvious warning signs" that the call was a farce, and did not try to negotiate with Finch before ending his life, among several other missteps.

"After Defendant Officers…surrounded 1033 West McCormick, they made no attempt to determine whether an occupant of the house was in a mental health crisis; had shot someone; had threatened to hold or was holding someone at gunpoint; had threatened or was threatening to burn the house down; had threatened or was threatening to commit suicide; was in possession of a firearm; or posed a danger to themselves or others," reads the suit, which was originally filed against the city of Wichita and officers Justin Rapp (who fired the shot) and Benjamin Jonker (who organized the response).

Whether the family will see anyone face accountability remains uncertain.

"The argument from the police officer seems to be basically: because they thought a heinous crime had been committed…it was fine to shoot Mr. Finch onsite as soon as he opened the door," says Easha Anand, an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center who is representing the family. "That's just not how our justice system works. You don't get to just shoot someone onsite because you think they committed a heinous crime."

Anand recently made that argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, pushing back on Rapp's contention that he should be protected by qualified immunity. That legal doctrine allows certain government officials to violate your constitutional rights without having to face a jury in civil court, so long as there are no preexisting court precedents explicitly declaring the specific conduct unconstitutional. Overcoming qualified immunity does not guarantee a settlement; it merely gives victims the right to state their case.

Yet that's often a tall order for plaintiffs to meet, no matter how shocking the behavior in question. Consider an adjacent case: At 78 years old, Onree Norris was put under arrest after more than two dozen cops broke into his home, destroyed his door, and set off explosives in his house as part of a drug raid. They had the wrong residence. Though Norris survived the skirmish, he cannot sue the officers who left his home partially in ruins, because he was unable to locate an identical court ruling outlining his experience to a tee.

Last summer, a lower court agreed with Anand: Rapp is not protected by qualified immunity, and the family should thus be able to ask a jury for damages. She hopes the 10th Circuit will agree. But the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas quashed the suit against the city, which she hopes the appeals panel will revive.

"The most discipline we've seen for any officer-involved shooting—including ones where Wichita itself concluded the Fourth Amendment was violated—was a one-day suspension," notes Anand. "The other piece that's at stake in this appeal is the idea that municipalities have some sort of responsibility to enforce the Constitution and make sure their officers are following it."

In striking down the Finch family's claim against the city, the district court employed bizarre logic: The municipality couldn't be sued, it said, because there was no "pattern of incidents resulting in jury verdicts" in the police department. Yet how are any victims supposed to hold officials accountable if the city where they reside declines to? The premise is self-defeating.

Another issue should bother anyone who cares about maintaining some semblance of limited government. "It gives cities a protection that ordinary citizens never have," says Anand. "Was the owner of an amusement park on notice that something was wrong with one of their rides? You don't ask whether jury verdicts are telling them what they did was negligent. You ask did they have the kind of information in which they should have surmised something was going wrong."

Though police shootings in Wichita have rarely made headlines, a few in recent years have raised eyebrows. Those include Marquez Smart, who the police mistook for a suspect in 2012 and was shot three times in the back as he lay on the ground, and Karen Jackson, a suicidal woman who cops shot in 2014 as she stabbed herself with a knife. The latter case was dismissed by the federal courts under qualified immunity. The former survived those claims, after which point the city agreed to settle with the family for $900,000 just this last July, nine years after the shooting.

"There is no independent oversight of WPD investigations into its own officers, allowing WPD to conduct faulty investigations of officers without consequence," says the Finch suit. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has acknowledged that this may be a problem.

If Finch's family overcomes the 10th Circuit, the city would find more reason to fix that. "What if we did say Wichita was responsible here to totally fail to investigate any of these shootings or discipline any of these officers [and] created a culture of no accountability? Does that mean the Wichita Library is going to have to close?" asks Anand. "The answer is no. That's definitely not how it's going to work. And, in any event, that's sort of not how our system of liability works. We don't think in those consequentialist terms…when it comes to the owner of the amusement park, or the ordinary employer."

NEXT: Can a Federal Judge Stop State Courts From Hearing the Lawsuits Authorized by the Texas Abortion Ban?

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  1. Can we kill the guy who made the prank call?

    1. Agreed. He should be on trial

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    2. Firing squad.

      1. Firing squads are so like two centuries ago. How about death by vacuum chamber?

    3. only if he’s unvaxxed.

    4. He got 20 years in the federal klink. Tyler Barriss. He did this for money and it wasn’t the first time he did it. He had a side gig where he got paid by gamers to swat other gamers.
      See more here: https://apnews.com/article/shootings-police-us-news-ap-top-news-ca-state-wire-9b07058db9244cfa9f48208eed12c993

      1. He needed to get life. He basically ordered a hit.

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        2. Agreed, he deserved life. And should be sued as well. But the city should be liable also, AND the shooting officer needs to lose both his badge and the right to own a gun. Forever.

          1. Screw that, the sniper needs to be charged with manslaughter.

        3. Barris didn’t order a hit. He would have had to assume that the Wichita PD were all triggerhappy halfwits to expect that this malicious prank call would result in a death. The city would certainly oppose this theory, since hiring or retaining triggerhappy halfwits would make them liable.

      2. And now Tyler Bareass gets to bear his ass for his cellmate.

    5. I would wait for a few years, then arrange for the prank callers and the two officers responsible to go away. If justice is thwarted, then vengeance is necessary.

  2. It doesn’t sound like THE CITY did anything wrong. They sent police to investigate reports of a dangerous situation.

    If you are claiming the cop does not deserve qualified immunity, you’re saying that he didn’t follow proper procedure, and therefore it’s NOT the city at fault.

    So this makes sense to me.

    It’s not until you have a pattern of renegade cops that you have evidence that the city was negligent in harboring renegade cops.

    1. If I’m a remodeling contractor and I hire someone who cuts through load bearing beams and collapses your roof, who’s liable, my hire, or me?

      1. What if it was your neighbor who called them, and told them they needed to do that?

        The person who is liable is the person who called the cops and told them a fake story.

        1. Yes. And the contractor.

          Therefore

          The prank caller and the police department and fherefore the city.

          Even if you thought the guy in the house was a murderer, you don’t get to just shoot the first thing you see. There has to be an immediate threat. The city should be on the hook 11 ways from Sunday, and the officers who decided to shoot the first thing that moved are on really thin ice. Maybe they can justify it… But it takes a lot more than “hey, they said there was a hostage situation!”. Heck, what if they had just overpowered a killer and were opening the door to let police in?

          1. You’re right, Jeremy is wrong. And if the city won’t be tried by 12, then they should be carried by six.

      2. If you instructed your sub to cut that beam, you both are. You both need to exercise a standard of care.

      3. “who’s liable, my hire, or me?” Both in theory, at least if the contractor did not have reason to know the worker was incompetent. The worker probably won’t be sued because he doesn’t have enough to make it worth the plaintiff’s lawyer’s time, but if he ever claimed that he knew how to do such work he could be held liable in theory.

    2. The police went there to kill.

      1. Which is basically their job description. Any time you call the police, there is a chance they will kill someone when they show up.

        When they are called and told about an armed murderer, the chance rises to 100%

        1. Bullshit. Cops know that people lie. Some of those lies are about “armed murderers”. The odds going up might be reasonable. The cops failing to do even the most rudimentary investigation to determine that the report was true. That was criminal negligent.

    3. They sent police to investigate reports of a dangerous situation.

      No they didn’t. They sent snipers to surround and attack a family home based on an anonymous call. They didn’t ‘investigate’ a fucking thing. Police stations track calls. They had the information that the call was not local.

      I have seen SWAT in action. They terrorized my whole neighborhood for 6 hours trying to coax a dead body out of a house instead of just walking in the door. There may be individual brave souls in the police, but collectively they act like giant pussies.

      1. Or deranged would-be Rambo’s.

        I am specifically thinking of Jose Guerrero and that guy in the back at the front door holding his gun over everyone’s head and shooting blindly. And a case we had in Florida where they stopped a guy who carjacked a truck and like 20 coos surrounded him in a circle….. Opening fire. Still not sure how they managed to avoid killing each other.

        1. “Still not sure how they managed to avoid killing each other.”

          Bad luck?

      2. It’s even a bit worse though, because here they sent regular officers with extra equipment who were eager to play with their special toys. At least SWAT is nominally trained for this kind of thing.

        But you’re absolutely right. Cops like that like to think they are tough, but like most bullies they turn to cowards the instant they have any doubt of their impunity. They shot this guy because he was confused by wtf was going on for a few seconds while he was getting contradictory orders from all sides. Worse, the system claims that’s fine, because when police panic, it’s your problem… similar to how if you panic around police, it’s your problem. Or if police just screw up in every way, it’s still your problem. Gotta protect our brave government enforcers, after all… their safety is far more important than yours.

      3. “Police stations track calls.”

        So, I don’t disagree with anything else you said, but VOIP spoofing could very well have made it look like a local call even to the police department.

    4. Non sequitur. Even if the cop is a renegate, respondeat superior makes the city liable.

  3. The small town in which I live just had its Chief of Police, and a Captain, resign. I am thinking of circulating a petition to have them not rehire anyone to fill the vacant positions. Hey, it’s a start.

    1. A small town that needs a chief AND a captain? How brass heavy is your police department?

      1. If the town is small enough, the chief and the captain could be the whole department.

        1. Or the chief sits in the office and does paperwork while the captain goes out with the three regular cops so they have someone in the field who is clearly in charge.

          1. The smallest incorporated municipality in the US has a population of 1. The Chief and the Captain could be not only the whole department, but the whole town.

          2. The last time I looked at the budget for the City of Manton, MI, the police payroll would barely pay for one officer. The Chief, Captain, and Patrol Officer were the same person.

  4. Really, how can a reasonable cop be expected to not murder execute random people on sight without cause or evidence? In the heat of the moment, like when a guy opens a door after you knock on it, you can’t second guess these decisions. He did his very best to preserve Andrew Finch’s constitutional rights but one little slip up and you guys are all up his ass like he killed someone.

    1. People like us who aren’t police just don’t know what it’s like to see someone you don’t know and who might be dangerous open their front door while we are wearing body armor and have a bunch of guns pointed at them. So how can we possibly judge? /s

      1. Ok, which one of y’all is actually Dunphy in disguise?

  5. So I’m watching this segment on how the President got his booster shot live on tv from the white house, and they set up a tiny Potemkin village for the photo-op… Joe Rogan makes comedic a crack about that, and the press calls it a “wild conspiracy theory”.

    1. The press sure is insecure when you make fun of their leader.

    2. WTF we can literally see the pictures.

      1. Exactly. The press’ take on Rogan’s comment is hilarious. There’s something about that guy that makes journalist seethe in anger.

        1. The problem with Rogan is that he’s an actual liberal. You know,
          that whole looking at different ideas thing.

        2. He does their job better than they do and a large swath of the public loves him while they’re reviled in proportion to their lies. Just a guess as to why he triggers journalists so.

          1. Old journalists were lower middle class joes who worked their way up from beat reporters in small cities and towns. Modern journalists are trust-fund babies who picked journalism school to “make a difference”. They earned their chops at Buzzfeed and Bustle.
            Their hatred for guys like Rogan comes from class consciousness and a disdain for parveneaus.

  6. I don’t want to let the cops off the hook, but the caller wasn’t a prankster, he was a very evil human being with a careless attitude toward human life.

    1. A prank is TPing someone’s house on Halloween – not that I recommend this, but it’s rarely fatal.

      1. If it’s a cop’s house maybe

        1. That might prove fatal. To the person with the TP.

      2. Agreed.

        The caller didn’t report someone for illegally parking in the street.
        When you are starting a process that will send armed people into some sort of confrontation with a perceived threat you are creating a very dangerous set of circumstances. It is eminently foreseeable that people could get hurt. Making you culpable for any such harm that follows.

        1. They guy is currently serving 20 years behind bars for this reason, and justifiably so. However, that does not remove liability from the officer as well.

    2. I should be harsher than careless, he had what they used to call an abandoned and malignant heart.

      1. Good term. I had to look it up so I’ll remember it.

    3. We have a real problem in this country. If the perceived stakes are high enough, the cops can essentially shoot you with impunity. Knowing that, “Swatting” an innocent family is essentially attempted murder.

      If the cops would chill the fuck out and quit pulling the trigger at every furtive movement (defined in this case as: answering the door) then “swatting” would simply be an annoyance.

      1. It’s how they were trained. Every time a trigger-happy cop shoots an innocent, the police chief and the council should wind up in the dock beside him.

      2. “That’s just not how our justice system works. You don’t get to just shoot someone onsite because you think they committed a heinous crime.”

        That’s an ought.

        ” If the perceived stakes are high enough, the cops can essentially shoot you with impunity. ”

        That’s the is.

        The other is is that Reason writers only gets upset when the ‘right sorts’ of people are harmed.

        Because principals over principles is their motto.

  7. Like Biden in Afghanistan. Kill some innocent folks. Be home by 2:00 pm for bed.

  8. How the fuck did I miss this?

    George Takei Says Sexual Assault Allegations Are a Russian Conspiracy

    Every day another once-beloved (or merely tolerated) star joins the parade of men forced to reckon with their past as alleged sexual abusers continues. Over the weekend, it was George Takei, who was accused of taking advantage of Scott Brunton, an ex-model and actor, when Brunton was 23 and Takei was in his forties. Takei denies the allegations, and also blames the Russians, because it’s 2017 and literally anything is plausible.

    1. Oh, so this is where Buttplug gets all his Russian conspiracy theories from.

  9. Reason always posts these bullshit articles where they slant the facts of the altercation more severely than even plaintiffs’ counsel would dare put in a court filing (lawyers have ethical obligations, I suppose). We get it, you don’t like cops. But you don’t persuade anyone with a brain when you uncritically publish statements *to the press* from trial lawyers. Here’s today’s whopper:

    “The argument from the police officer seems to be basically: because they thought a heinous crime had been committed…it was fine to shoot Mr. Finch onsite as soon as he opened the door,” says Easha Anand, an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center who is representing the family.

    On the other hand, here are the facts from the district court’s opinion:

    Rapp could see that the front door to the house remained open as Finch stepped out. Finch appeared to be holding the outside screen door open with his shoulder. (Doc. 166-4 at 20.) Finch
    appeared to be about six feet tall and weighed perhaps 220 pounds. He was wearing a dark “hoodie” sweatshirt. Rapp was not close enough to see his facial expressions or his eyes. (Id. at 20,
    23.)

    Rapp testified that he yelled a command at Finch to “get your hands up” or “show me your hands.” (Doc. 166-4 at 21.) Rapp
    did so because they were responding to a reported shooting where the suspect was a male, and because “we don’t know his [Finch’s] status at this point,” they would “order him to show his hands
    so we can either confirm or eliminate him as a suspect in this incident.” (Id.) Finch initially appeared to comply with officers’ commands because he raised his hands up to about ear-level. Officers, including Rapp, could see that he was not holding anything in his hands. Then, Finch started to lower his hands. Rapp could hear officers on the east side of the house again yelling commands but could not see the officers. (Doc. 174-4 at 16.) Rapp did not know how far away the officers to the east were from the front door of the residence. (Doc. 166-4 at 16.) There was testimony that Finch raised his hands and lowered them a second time while moving back toward the doorway threshold. (Doc. 166-7 at 9.) The commands that were yelled from multiple directions during the encounter included, “walk this way,” “step off the porch,” and (more than once) “show me your hands.”

    Rapp testified that Finch then: [G]rabbed the right side of his hoodie or sweatshirt, whatever he was wearing, lifted it up, made a motion like he was drawing a firearm and dipped his shoulder forward … and put his hand straight back down kind of on the back half of his right thigh.

    (Doc. 174-4 at 18.) According to Rapp, Finch was facing and looking toward the northeast, when his right arm “started to come up” toward the officers on the east side of the house. (Id. at 19.) Rapp testified he thought that Finch “was obviously not compliant with our commands, and that he was going to use his firearm to fire on [the] police.” (Doc. 166-4 at 24.) Rapp testified he could clearly see the entirety of Finch’s right hand as it came up. (Id.) Rapp testified he thought he saw a gun in Finch’s hand. (Doc. 174-4 at 19-20.) From his vantage point about 40 yards away, Rapp fired one shot from his rifle, which hit Finch in the chest or ricocheted into his chest. (Some evidence indicates the bullet struck the screen door first.)
    Rapp indicated in testimony that he fired the shot as Finch’s arm “was in the process of being raised” and was not yet parallel to the ground. (Id. at 20.)

    ______

    The other cops were right in front of the victim. “Long cover” shooting officer had two choices, shoot or not. On this testimony, the district court was obviously correct to dismiss the case against the defendants. And they didn’t even do that entirely! Summary judgment was denied for the shooter, whose case will still get to a jury.

    It’s reasonable to be of two minds on what that outcome should be, Rapp is either lying or not. If he’s lying, the jury should find for the plaintiffs. If he’s telling the truth he should be exonerated – and this is the point where you should be arguing. If you disagree and think under the facts as stated by the court the officer was NOT justified in shooting, you have a very, very different view of how police may respond (than anything approaching an effective law enforcement response).

    The bullshit position taken by this article isn’t even that argument though. The argument by the article here is that the victim’s family should be allowed to access the city’s deep pocket.

    1. Jesus.. I hope you get swatted.

      1. Your handle is appropriate.

    2. Rapp testified that Finch then: [G]rabbed the right side of his hoodie or sweatshirt, whatever he was wearing, lifted it up, made a motion like he was drawing a firearm and dipped his shoulder forward … and put his hand straight back down kind of on the back half of his right thigh.

      That is what’s called boilerplate. Standard language put into reports to absolve officers of wrongdoing. I’m pretty sure they teach this at the Academy. Thing is, whenever there’s cameras around, the boilerplate turns out to be bullshit.

      1. There are some bodycam clips available from this.
        And the 911 call.
        Given that they had not confirmed or reasonably confirmed the solicitation was accurate (which of course it wasn’t), and the distance involved I’m not buying the “stand your ground” in defense of the nearer officer that had cover, concealment and distance. I don’t like it. Having watched more than a police shooting videos from a trainer, I can also see why it played out like it did. Not agreeing. Just understand.

        1. I’m glad I unmuted for you when you were scoring points with the girls by putting “cum” into my name, but this bit is a definite edit fail.

          Having watched more than a police shooting videos from a trainer

          1. …more than a few police shooting videos…

        2. I don’t know what you’re saying.

          1. As expected.

    3. We get it, you don’t like cops.

      We don’t like it when cops commit crimes with impunity. Granted not all cops are like that. But the 98% who are give the remaining good cops a really bad rap.

    4. The argument by the article here is that the victim’s family should be allowed to access the city’s deep pocket.

      No. The argument is that the victim’s family should have their day in court. But thanks to QI that will never happen.

      1. This has a pro-family bias but includes a lot of info:
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z18dlT3aCZY

        1. I have a difficult time watching that stuff. The “Obey or die” mentality of American cops is just frightening. A minute in and it’s right there. Cop shouts something, a second later bam.

          I’ll try to watch the whole thing. Can’t make any guarantees.

          1. Most of it is interviews with family and friends.
            There is other bodycam footage available. And some of the second 911 call.

            1. Finished it.

              I wonder if 911 communicated “gasoline” to the cops. Doubt it.

            2. Wouldn’t be the first time cops go cowboy without information about the actual call. I’m not sure who to blame. The cops for not saying “I need a bit more information before I kill someone” or the gas. The place would have reeked if the guy had dumped gas. Either the cops weren’t told, or they didn’t care. But to me that’s the crucial bit of info.

              1. Yup. And multiple officers in multiple locations giving different commands. There needs to be a lead. Not confirming the situation. The fact the call wasn’t placed to 911 and reportedly the police on the scene were aware of that.
                Watched a store burglary call where the arriving officers were a bit lackadaisical. Most of those calls are false alarms and it took them a spell to get into “go” mode. In this case, a murder/hostage situation, they likely rarely get those and came amped up. At least the shooter. Not an excuse; an explanation. Finch had not made any threats nor showed any weapons. They had not confirmed the situation.

      2. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Every cop lackey acts like letting people argue facts before the court is condemning the police as guilty already… in reality it’s just basic procedure for the rest of us.

        1. The facts that make the *city* liable?

          I assume you mean, having a police department? Those animals.

      3. So you don’t read it, you just post three times to my comment.

        Summary judgment was denied for the shooting officer. The victim’s family are getting their day in court, it’s just not going to be on the taxpayers’ dime because there’s no conceivable claim against the city. They get to allege that the shooting officer lied under oath and a jury gets to decide if they believe him or them.

        Do you have an argument that the shooting officer is guilty of something *if he’s telling the truth*?

    5. “multiple directions during the encounter included, “walk this way,” “step off the porch,” and (more than once) “show me your hands.”

      Classic cop tactic to confuse the person and give them a reason to shoot.

    6. Meanwhile, in the world of reality, the bodycam is available and you can see the police are embellishing, if not outright lying. It was less than 6 seconds from the first time they first shout anything to the shot. They were giving him contradictory commands, and he never reached “as if for a gun.” Make no mistake, Reason has a more accurate description than that officer’s sworn testimony.

    7. This does not exhoberate the police, but it does point out extreme deficiencies in tactics in common police encounters.

      They rarely establish a solid chain of command and communication, with only one officer issuing commands. It is extremely common to hear multiple officers, usually everyone present, yelling incoherently over the top of each other. “Hands up” “don’t move”, “get down”, “show me under your hoodie”, “turn around”, “freeze”….. There have been several shootings covered here that appear to be a direct result of this chaos.

      It is also common at “knock-and-announce’ entries, where people are awakened in the middle of the night by a sudden banging on the door and three or four guys yelling for maybe 10 seconds, followed by the door being broken down. From the outside the police believe they gave ample warning that they were police and plenty of time to comply with commands… From inside the residents wake up to a bunch of loud noises at the front door and suddenly people are breaking in, yelling and waving guns. This pretty much guarantees that some folks are going to grab their handgun.

      The courts (and police) have consistently ignored this dichotomy. People go to jail for pulling a gun on police who are in plainclothes because some guy yelling “police” should have been enough to clearly establish that these guys are real police. The same goes for windbreakers with “police” on the back… Surely you can read the back of someone’s jacket as they break through your door as you lie in bed in the middle of the night…..

      Police are doing much better over the last 2 decades. But the overall system.. police, prosecutors, judges, politicians and the law, have not yet caught up, and they do not yet have a good balance of the concept of protecting individual liberty and public safety along with respecting the fact that if we routinely place police in potential armed conflicts, some people are inevitably going to make mistakes. We need to recognize that people can make mistakes – a guy sleeping next to his girlfriend in an apartment might think intruders breaking the door down after midnight are dangerous criminals – so charging him with attempted murder of police if he opens fire might not be warranted. At the same time, an officer might mistake an innocent act for a threat.

      I am not talking about cases like Daniel Shaver, where terrible tactics were used and a senior officer basically goaded a trainee into executing a guy on his hands and knees. Nor am I talking about cases like Kelly Thomas, where a homeless man was tormented and beaten to death.

      But there are plenty of cases where police created a dangerous situation by mistake – say, raiding the wrong address – and people reacted in a reasonable manner based on what they experienced and were charged… Or the inverse.. police acted incorrectly based on flawed and incomplete information. We should recognize that this happens, and adjust the law and the legal system accordingly.

      Currently it seems that publicity and public outcry are the determining factors in these cases. That is exactly the wrong road to take.

      1. They rarely establish a solid chain of command and communication, with only one officer issuing commands.

        Finally someone mentions the core issue and avoids the juvenile and stupid “they do it on purpose so they can kill people” claim. This is how you tell the adults from the children.

        1. I don’t think they are doing it just so they can kill people, but I think it’s highly likely that they are doing it (the multiple simultaneous conflicting commands) deliberately.

          The intent is probably to confuse the suspect.

          However, the suspect doing something that causes the cops to escalate to lethal force is an obvious risk of deliberately confusing the suspect.

      2. ” It is extremely common to hear multiple officers, usually everyone present, yelling incoherently over the top of each other. ”

        Another “fun” tactic is for officers to yell “Stop Resisting” at a suspect who is not in fact resisting.

        I’ve seen one case of of a dash cam video of four officers piled on one suspect they puled out of a car that had was stopped in the middle of an intersection. The cops didn’t stop the car, they were called because the car stopped in the middle of the intersection.

        One officer pulled on the suspects right arm yelling “stop resisting” while another officer pulled on the suspect’s left arm also yelling “stop resisting”. A third officer was beating on the suspect’s head.

        After awhile a fifth officer came over and pulled the other four off the suspect because he realized that the suspect was in a diabetic coma.

        They called an ambulance and the dash cam continued recording while the sat around waiting and joked about the fact that they had spend 5+ minutes beating on a suspect already in a coma.

    8. Thank you for the extended quotation, but while it’s less ridiculous, it is still not excusable. In fact, as others have said, that looks suspiciously like standard language (similar to “I smelled alcohol on their breath”). The cops had him surrounded and were all concealed. Even if we believe the “he pulled his arm back” story, there was zero reason to think that the guy was reaching for a weapon. Given that he was surrounded by armed officers, even if he did have a firearm, only a suicidal moron would actually draw it. The sniper could have and should have waited until he actually saw a gun before opening fire.

      That was a flimsy pretext at best, and I actually think that Reason’s dismissal of it was justified.

  10. I think the bigger problem is the not being able to sue the city part. Sue the cop and you’ll end up with whatever assets a cop has managed to accumulate. Not exactly the deep pocket, particularly once qualified immunity is over and they start putting their assets into trusts, retirement accounts, and others tricks to protect themselves from creditors. Sue the city…now you have DEEP pockets and it is the city that hires, trains, and sets policy. I thought it was pretty standard that if an employee f’s up in the execution of their duties, the plaintiff focuses on the employer, not the employee.

    1. “Sue the cop and you’ll end up with whatever assets a cop has managed to accumulate.”

      It’s amusing that you think that. Almost every department in the country indemnifies it’s officers. Even if you get past QI, the officer will never pay so much as $0.01 out of pocket.

  11. Killed by a sniper rifle? I didn’t realize inanimate objects could come to life on this planet.

    1. It was an AR-15 from 45 yards.

  12. Most of it is interviews with family and friends.
    There is other bodycam footage available. And some of the second 911 call. RRB Group D Result

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