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Here's a Novel Idea: Hold Both Caller and Police Officer Responsible for Deadly 'Swatting'

Let's avoid false dilemmas when exploring blame.

Tyler BarrissGlendale Police Dept.A Los Angeles man has been arrested for telling police a hostage situation was underway at a home in Wichita, Kansas. His claim was a lie, and the police fatally shot a man in the ensuing raid.

Tyler Barriss, 25, is accused of calling city hall in Wichita claiming that a shooting and hostage situation were unfolding at a local home. Barriss apparently was attempting a "swatting" prank on somebody he was having an argument with online over the video game Call of Duty.

"Swatting" pranks are nasty stunts where a caller draws a SWAT team out to an innocent party's home by calling the authorities and pretending a dangerous crimeis taking place there. They've grown increasingly popular over the past few years as a way of frightening or getting revenge on somebody.

Barriss was not having a dispute with Andrew Finch, 28, a father of two in Wichita, nor anybody else at the address he sent police to. The person Barriss was arguing with had given him a fake address. A SWAT team showed up at Finch's door, and when he went outside to see what was going on, a police officer shot and killed him.

This appears to be the first time somebody has been killed by a swatting prank, though people have previously been shot and injured. Barriss has a criminal background and was previously arrested for calling in phony bomb threats to ABC Studios in Los Angeles.

An example of how pioneering this case is: Right now the police and prosecutors don't seem able to tell the media what Barriss is actually being charged with. He's being held on a felony warrant without a bond, but the charges might not be revealed until his first court appearance this week.

The case has unfortunately quickly and predictably turned into a "Who's to blame?" question. It's literally in the headline of New York Times' coverage of Finch's death: "Fatal 'Swatting' Episode in Kansas Raises Quandary: Who Is to Blame?" Is it Barriss, who fabricated a crime? Or is it the officer, who shot an unarmed, innocent man?

This is a false dilemma. Both are to blame.

If Barriss is indeed the man who called the police, he is responsible for sending a group of armed people into an environment where they believed violence was happening and innocent lives were at stake. Now, what that looks like in terms of holding Barriss criminally responsible is a complicated and challenging problem. Libertarian lawyer Ken "Popehat" White has suggested rewriting laws to make swatting somebody a felony. Read his explanation here.

But that doesn't mean the officer who shot Finch behaved appropriately. It's frustrating and depressing to see that, even when the police know they made a very serious mistake, they are circling the wagons. From The New York Times:

Chief Livingston said Mr. Finch, who was unarmed and apparently not the intended target of the online prank, did not immediately comply with officers' commands and moved his hands to his waistline, leading one officer to fear he had drawn a weapon.

That's right—they went straight to the well-worn "The officer thought he was reaching for a weapon" defense even though we all know by now that he was just some random guy. Finch's mom says the police never announced themselves. Finch had no way of knowing that he was in danger of getting shot. And yet police are instinctively trying to pin the mistake on Finch.

The Times notes that laws typically allow officers to shoot people when they "reasonably believe" they are in danger. This has created an environment where police officers are incentivized to exaggerate a sense of danger because it will allow them an excuse for mistakes and even for reckless behavior.

Livingston's responses to the shooting are very much a concern, because they don't suggest that he sees any sort of problems in the way his police responded to this call. In the Times piece, University of Kansas Law Professor Jean Phillips even suggests that Livingston's insistence on defending the cop could actually undermine efforts to hold Barriss responsible for Finch's death. If Finch's shooting is deemed "justifiable," what is the extent that Barress could be held criminally liable?

Photo Credit: Glendale Police

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  • Crusty Juggler||

    Here's a novel idea: George R.R. Martin finishes the last book!

    Am I right, people?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Here's a Novell idea: bring back eDirectory.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Oh my God.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Buckle up. 2018 is going to be quite a roller coaster.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    2018 rules and 2017 drools.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Every post you make I imagine you hitting the submit button then turning your head down in shame. As if to say, "Well, it's out there now..."

  • Citizen X - #6||

    False. Eugene had his sense of shame removed years ago along with his tonsils, pituitary gland, and left testicle.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Like shame is something to be proud of.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    No. Just no.

  • sarcasmic||

    Police cannot be held accountable for their actions because then we would be forced to admit that government isn't God. If that were to happen people would lose their faith in the infallibility of government, and as a result the public trust would erode. When the public trust erodes then society descends into anarchy and chaos.

    So that is our choice: Never hold the police accountable for anything, or Somalia.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I think that ship sailed a very long time ago. If it ever existed at all.

  • Kevin47||

    Here in Minneapolis, we get both at the same time.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    If Finch's shooting is deemed "justifiable," what is the extent that Barress could be held criminally liable?

    I don't imagine that part will be a problem. If you're fleeing from the cops, and a pursuing officer runs over a kid, any prosecutor with a pulse is gonna stick you with the vehicular manslaughter charge too.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's not called a double standard for nothing.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Why, without double standards, our rulers would have no standards a' tall!

  • ||

    If you're fleeing from the cops, and a pursuing officer runs over a kid, any prosecutor with a pulse is gonna stick you with the vehicular manslaughter charge too.

    Right. Even if we assume the call was 1000% legit and a hostage situation were occurring at the residence, there's zero indication that Andrew Finch wasn't just a hostage that "the officer" plugged. But we've known hostages and unarmed bystanders are just the cost of doing business this since at least when Lon Horuichi put a bullet in Vicki Weaver if not much earlier.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yep. My point is, the thin blue line always finds a way.

  • Bubba-J||

    "Thin blue line" COMPLY or DIE!

  • Robert||

    Shoot the hostage 1st. That way the hostage-taker has nothing left. 1st few times the cops do that, the hostage taker proably freaks out & surrenders. After a while, nobody takes hostages any more.

  • Duke of url||

    One could argue, they did shoot the hostage.

  • Bob Meyer||

    No. Blow up the whole building and kill everyone in it. That's the only way to guarantee that the police will live to go home after their shift. After all, that's the new standard as opposed to the old, archaic standard of "Protect and Serve". Or maybe the old standard just left out a word - "Protect and Serve Ourselves".

  • some guy||

    I'm betting Barris gets charged with involuntary manslaughter. He pleads guilty and gets a few years in jail plus a few years on parole. The officer gets a nice, long paid vacation, then a few weeks of cushy training duty, then he's back on the job. Finch's family settles with the city for an undisclosed high 6-figure sum. Everyone else goes about their business as if nothing ever happened.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Like drugs on a victim's person, this is a situation that absolves the coppers of all responsibility.

  • ||

    Libertarian lawyer Ken "Popehat" White has suggested rewriting laws to make swatting somebody a felony.

    Fuck. No.

    Perjury and filing a false report are already crimes and, varyingly, felonies. The absolute shit on the stick, that the article does a decent job of hinting at, is that the police go in all lit up with zero investigative work. The guy called in a threat from the courthouse to a private residence. Nobody once stopped to ask, "Is he hurt or in danger now?", "Shouldn't we pick him up so we know who the bad guys are?", "Is *he* one of the bad guys calling in a tip/trap/etc.?"... Nope, somebody said the word 'hostage' so gear and boots on, safeties and brains off and wait for the green light.

    If you write out your procedure, SWAT teams are going to live up to that minimum standard and people swatting others without a concern for life, liberty, etc. are *still* just going to circumvent the written procedures.

  • Zeb||

    One could make the case that Swatting someone counts as assault with a deadly weapon.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    And in this case, I think you could make the case for manslaughter, or if they can somehow prove Barriss intended for his SWATing victim to die, maybe even murder 2.

  • ||

    if they can somehow prove Barriss intended for his SWATing victim to die, maybe even murder 2

    Not even necessarily this. If the call/false report is a felony it's quite reasonably felony murder. If Barriss just wanted them to kick in the doors and scare the occupants, it wouldn't exactly have mattered if the officers kicked in the doors and shot someone or gave them a heart attack.

    But that would require messiness like acknowledging that "Officer, The" likely committed a felony when he shot an innocent, unarmed man and that the SWAT team were accomplices.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Shooting from the hip, I think charging him with felony murder (as opposed to some flavor of manslaughter) would require an intent for the victim to die, as well as a realistic chance that "swatting" the guy would cause the man's death.

    The first might be arguable (depending on the guy's history, if the "argument" was recorded, etc. and so-on), but the second would require an argument, in a courtroom, that "swatting" someone has a realistic chance to get them killed. I can't imagine a judge allowing a lawyer to make that argument, and the statistics (first death from "swatting") doesn't seem to back it up anyway.

    That said, this is shooting from the hip based on how I remember the law is supposed to work, and the moment cops get involved that goes out the window anyway.

    Bottom line? Since the "weapon" used is "the cops", any charge that includes "intent to kill" is probably going to be a non-starter as that requires acknowledgement that SWAT teams killing innocent folks is a predictable consequence, and that's not something I expect to fly.

  • Jgalt1975||

    I don't know Kansas law, but in quite a few jurisdictions there is no requirement to show the defendant intended that anyone die during the commission of the felony. (In some jurisdictions you can be charged with felony murder even if somebody just dies of natural causes during your commission of the felony -- this is the "elderly bank patron with history of heart disease has a heart attack while you are robbing the bank" fact pattern from law school exams.)

  • RaymondhW||

    Hell some places allow the death of a cohort to be a felony murder. Bob and frank rob a 7-11 the teller pulls a gun and kills frank. Bob runs away and gets caught and then is charged with Franks murder.

    Assuming the jurisdictions allow it felony murder is pretty in line with what they could go for.

  • junyo||

    Barriss has already claimed it's not his fault, since he didn't pull the trigger. And I'd assume that a defense lawyer would be able to make a claim that a reasonable person could believe that the police would verify the circumstances before that going in blasting. The fact that sending trained police to a house where there's not in fact a hostage situation or even an armed person equals a death sentence is a fucked commentary on our society.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's sad that the SWAT series of games holds the player more accountable than the real world does for it's SWAT soldiers.

  • markm23||

    Realistically, it's not a death sentence. Most of the time in that situation, the police don't put an unstable coward in the lead and no one gets killed. The target just gets tased, manhandled, and handcuffed - not always in that order - his house gets ripped apart, and his dogs may get shot. The goal of SWATting is not murder, but harassment.

    SWATting is both a wrongful act (but probably not more than the minor misdemeanor of "making a false report" under the law), and a reckless act, with a low but significant probability of causing death. That's manslaughter.

    Here's an analogy: A slashes one tire on B's car, which is parked in a driveway opening on a two-lane highway with a 55 mph speed limit. B gets in without checking the condition of his car and drives away, accelerating to 55 as fast as possible, and ignoring the odd handling of the car resulting from the flat. He loses control is killed in the crash. That's a misdemeanor crime unexpectedly resulting in death - it's manslaughter.

  • Tionico||

    drive drunk hit a car, kill someone you never have met, and did not specifically intend to hit, and that one dies, you are charged with felony murder. Happens on a regular basis. I knew one guy, and FFL, got his life destroyed by getting sauced, hopping in his too-fast car with his girlfriend, totalling the car AND her, and he's got a list of felonies as long as his arm these days, lost his business, livelihood, girlfriend, car, all his guns, driving license, and legal costs took most of his real estate. And he "intended" none of it. But I think he got off easy. The jury could have locked him away for decades.

  • Paloma||

    And people still don't want to see automated self driving cars be mandated.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yeah, and it took decades of nationwide campaigning to make drunk driving deaths a felony offense (in some jurisdictions). Kind of proves that it's the exception, not the rule.

  • DRM||

    Being a felony would be a necessary prerequisite for invoking felony murder in California. As it is, by default it's only a misdemeanor in California, though if someone is hurt or killed it's a felony worth 16 months in prison. The fact that a death explicitly raises it to a 16-month felony probably means it can't be used as a predicate for felony murder (though I could easily be wrong).

    In Kansas, it's a felony if the crime falsely reported is a felony, but not one of the "inherently dangerous" felonies eligible for that state's statute-restricted version of the felony murder rule.

    It might count under the state statute for involuntary manslaughter for the caller -- "Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of a human being committed . . . in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight from any felony, other than [the list of felony murder eligible crimes], that is enacted for the protection of human life or safety[.]"

    That would makes it a Severity 5 offense in the Kansas grid. Sentence of 30-38 months, depending on details of this guy's previous (misdemeanor) convictions.

    But given the statute in question, I'm not actually sure it technically qualifies as a felony "enacted for the protection of human life or safety" in Kansas law. If it doesn't, you drop back down to the 8-to-11-month underlying "Severity 8" felony.

  • fdog50||

    Manslaughter is the most likely. In most jurisdictions, that crime is defined as causing the death of another through behavior that is reckless rather than knowing or intentional, which are the states of mind required for murder. To use the old 1st Amendment situation, if you are in a crowded theater and know there is not a fire, and you yell "Fire", you could be charged with manslaughter if someone is trampled to death, because your behavior is reckless: you don't intend for anyone to die, but you have created a situation in which it is likely or foreseeable that someone could die. Calling up a police department and falsely saying that there is a hostage situation in which one person has been shot and that the culprit has thrown gasoline around and threatens to start a fire is certainly a situation in which it is foreseeable that another person could be killed or injured. That is reckless behavior.

  • ||

    It is at least wielding a deadly weapon with careless disregard, resulting in death.

    This is really easy to prosecute. Plain old manslaughter, for both the swatter and the responsible members of the SWAT team.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • ||

    This is really easy to prosecute. Plain old manslaughter, for both the swatter and the responsible members of the SWAT team.

    Yeah, in an ideal world, manslaughter for both *ought* to be a slam dunk. My point being that in our lop-sided non-ideal world where the officer will likely never see the inside of a courtroom over this case, a libertarian lawyer is effectively calling for what would be a federal law to deal with a situation that good lawyer should be able to draw a felony murder circle around without any additional laws.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    How libertarian is Ken White, anyway?

  • ||

    With the 'Chipper' in your name, I'd assume you know/knew.

    I don't know hard facts on the ground but my understanding is that when Preet tried to shut down the comments and/or dox commentors here at Reason, Ken was involved in the defense or response.

    I don't think he's anti-liberty by any means, I just think he's on the wrong side of this a bit and/or may personally know people who've been SWATted and isn't seeing the bigger picture (i.e. in this case the law would have to apply from at least OK to CA, would likely require some manner of mandatory sentencing, and could have all manner of ramifications on third party, reasonable suspicion, etc.)

  • Zeb||

    But isn't someone committing a crime remotely in another state exactly where federal criminal jurisdiction is appropriate and necessary? Not sure how it would require mandatory sentencing requirements. Or does that just happen automatically with federal criminal laws now?

  • EscherEnigma||

    But isn't someone committing a crime remotely in another state exactly where federal criminal jurisdiction is appropriate and necessary?


    Appropriate? Maybe. Depends on whether you think the Fed should step in whenever they can, or only when state authorities are insufficient to the task. In this case, while the Feds probably could claim jurisdiction, it appears the guy will be charged and extradited to Kansas, leading us to...

    Necessary? Nope. There's no interstate man-hunt going on, the guy is already being held, the Feds don't need to get involved.

  • ||

    But isn't someone committing a crime remotely in another state exactly where federal criminal jurisdiction is appropriate and necessary? Not sure how it would require mandatory sentencing requirements. Or does that just happen automatically with federal criminal laws now?

    So the problem is that the guy called from California so the Wichita PD can do nothing but shrug it's shoulders? Swatting is legal in CA but not in KA (or vice versa) so the guy's never going to see the inside of a court room or a jail cell?

    Between the Federal Bill and the disjointedness of what Ken's proposing for just CA I admit to reading the tea leaves a bit. Ken's proposal was for CA, depending on how Barriss is charged Ken's suggestions Re: California Law may be moot. Ken is clear in suggesting that the perpetrator spend a minimum of 3 yrs. in jail if any property is damaged and 25 to life (or 15 to life with $75K fine) if someone dies. This is as bad or worse than what's proposed in the federal law. Conversely, the federal law deals more with the wire fraud aspect of things and, by it's originators and proponents, is being lauded as a tool to go after 'cyber stalkers' and 'online hoaxes' (fake news?).

  • ||

    IMO, both Ken's and the Federal Law, to their varying degrees, are a rather naked attempt (w/o implication of intent) to make sure that wealthy, high-profile people who are likely to be SWATted randomly are protected from their own armed thugs while anybody who can't cough up $75-150K gets 15-to-life without exception for abusing said thugs' purpose for existing.

    Might as well argue to keep the safety net in tact or even grant a UBI while simultaneously arguing that the borders could be *more* open.

  • Mcgoo95||

    One thing that bothered me about this was that, iirc, the caller very clearly said he was in a single story house yet when the boys in blue arrived at a very obvious two-story house, nobody questioned anything. Not sure how much info the police got about the call, but the entire call sounded suspicious so I would imagine a very minimal amount of investigating would've revealed something was afoul.....that's assuming anybody could think with all that adrenaline in their systems. Guess it's just easier to shoot someone and ask questions later..

  • Jury Nullification||

    "...boys in blue arrived ...nobody questioned anything."

    Adrenaline. Nuff said.

  • DenverJ||

    He didn't call from the courthouse. He called the Wichita City Hall from California to report a crime.
    But yes, the police spend all day just hoping for an excuse to play soldier, without, you know, having to actually be in a war zone.

  • JoeGoins||

    Calling 911 and giving a fake report isn't counted as perjury in any jurisdiction throughout the country.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I quite literally have no idea as to what I'm supposed to do in a police confrontation anymore. I'd say maybe put my hands straight in the air but then I assume a cop will think I'm trying to invoke God's wrath on them; which can only lead to them crapping themselves and pulling the trigger.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cops are trained to issue conflicting commands to confuse people. So one tells you to get on the ground, another tells you to get on your knees, while another tells you to turn around. To obey one is to disobey the others, and failure to obey is punishable by death. So basically, you're fucked.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "So basically, you're fucked."

    Exactly.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    My takeaway from the Daniel Shaver case is this:

    Once you are face down or in some other "neutralized" position, Don't. Fucking. Move.

  • sarcasmic||

    If a cop is behind you while you are driving and wants to pull you over, it is literally impossible to not give him an excuse.

    And if a cop decides he wants to kill someone, and you happen to be the next person he deals with, it is literally impossible to not give him an excuse.

    Our lives are at the whims of the king's men.

    We live in a feudal system. Only the costumes have changed.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    and I agree with you

  • retiredfire||

    Then you're as big a fucking moron as he is.

  • Paloma||

    But not quite as big as you are

  • Drake||

    And you're a shameless copsucking retard whose highest purpose is the health of the state and all your fellow public union scumbags. Suck it, bitch.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    You're on the wrong website, retiredfirefaggot.
    You meant to click on ThinBlueBalls.com.

  • retiredfire||

    Why, you morons can't handle a little truth?
    It is a wonder you dunderheads manage to draw a breath, you are so dumb.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    "Then you're as big a fucking moron as he is."

    Do you have an actual argument?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Nobody has ever lived in a truely feudal system, that I know of. A feudal system is built of a system of oaths, runnng both up the social ladder and down. What we have, frankly, is a bureaucratic system. Small time paper pushers weild power all out of proportion to their theoretical authority, and too many of them are armed.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Don't agree. In a feudal system, anyone who ranks above you has the power of life and death over you. There's no such thing as "power...out of proportion". It's all or nothing.

  • markm23||

    Vernon: There is one thing that limits the abuses in a feudal system: The system of oaths between superior and inferior, with those oaths being taken seriously, and enforced by distrust if not social ostracism of the oathbreaker. We have a system where there are no oaths sworn to a person, but only to an abstract concept, and few care about those oaths being broken. E.g., every day Congress is in session, at least half of them break their oath to uphold the Constitution. That leaves us with only the courts to restrain the unelected functionaries - but the prosecutors routinely give cops and politicians a pass on crimes, and the courts have invented immunities from civil suits for those members of the system most likely to abuse their power.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    I should clarify:

    Don't move anymore. Even if they tell you to move.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then they'll shoot you for failure to obey.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    True. But it might make my widow's wrongful death lawsuit easier to prove.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    In the Shaver case, I predict the wrongful death suit never goes to trial. The city of Mesa (taxpayers) will settle quickly to keep it out of the news.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Which is pathetic. I hope they refuse a settlement, because these grievances need to be aired. That being said, I won't blame the family if they choose to get past this as quickly as possible.

  • Chris P.||

    I always wondered why the family doesn't take the settlement money, move away, and spend whats left on shaming the cops who did it.

    Billboard in the town where it happened

    "This man is a murderer" -.with photo of shooter

    Etc.

    Let them try to sue you.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let them try to sue you.

    They don't need to sue. Three felonies a day, remember? Try something like that and you'll find yourself dead or in prison. And nothing else will happen.

  • Chris P.||

    What part of move away did you miss in your rush bud.

  • EscherEnigma||

    You think the cops in your new jurisdiction wouldn't harass you on behalf of the cops in another jurisdiction?

  • Chris P.||

    Cops in a village in southern Italy don't give a an about some Hicks in Kansas.

  • EscherEnigma||

    A settlement might fund you relocating somewhere in the states, but it'll take more then a settlement to fund you relocating to a foreign country.

  • Chris P.||

    Some of these settlements are in the millions.

    And frankly, no, I think cops have better things to do than get payback for other cops in some podunk town.

  • Chris P.||

    And… why would you accept a settlement that didn't let you do this… if your plan was to do this.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Some of these settlements are in the millions.
    Some, sure. But not most. And as many retirees are learning, a million won't get you as far as it used to. Throw in a family, relocating to a new country, lawyer fees to deal with immigration, and the cost of your "shaming" campaign, and it's not going to go as far as you think.

    And… why would you accept a settlement that didn't let you do this… if your plan was to do this.


    And if I'm right, that this really isn't a safe or reasonable plan, then you wouldn't. So that only matters if you assume the conclusion and work backwards.

  • Chris P.||

    "it'll take more then a settlement to fund you relocating to a foreign country."

    As an aside, and unrelated to the rest of the thread, you've clearly never looked into this if you genuinely think that.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sure I have. My qualifications aren't worth shit outside the US. It'd take me a long time to achieve self-sufficiency in a new country comparable to my current levels. And again, that's not counting language barriers and immigration costs. So a huge chunk of that settlement, even if it's in the "millions" is going to be maintaining current lifestyle.

    So I can have my safety in relocation or I can have reasonable assurances that my shaming campaign is going to be on-going for years. But both? probably not.

    Maybe if you're dirt-poor to start with and happy living in a tenement you can pull it off, but some of us have standards.

  • ||

    They don't need to sue. Three felonies a day, remember? Try something like that and you'll find yourself dead or in prison. And nothing else will happen.

    The statement "This man is a murderer". Is libel/slander as a settlement means he was never convicted.

    Also, good luck to the quasi-related third-party property owner that puts up a billboard effectively depicting a police officer's body below a hanging tree.

    The whole town is going to have to come down on the guy (i.e. Jason Van Dyke or Drew Peterson) or move away.

  • Chris P.||

    "The statement "This man is a murderer". Is libel/slander as a settlement means he was never convicted."

    Which is the entire point. And, a legal conviction isn't required to be labeled a murderer anyway.

    Let them sue.

  • Chris P.||

    "Also, good luck to the quasi-related third-party property owner "

    You buy the land and the Billboard.

    Really, for someone who made it a point to concoct a way to charge the swatter with murder, you really are not thinking about this at all.

  • ||

    You buy the land and the Billboard.

    Really, for someone who made it a point to concoct a way to charge the swatter with murder, you really are not thinking about this at all.

    I wasn't convicting him with murder as much as illustrating that the case can almost certainly be made without any new law. Even without a trial, in the court of public opinion he's already not innocent.

    I've lived on land with billboards and don't believe the practice to be conducive to skipping town with loads of settlement money and never coming back.

  • Chris P.||

    So, it would work, and all your objections weird addressed.

    Thanks.

  • Chris P.||

    "that the case can almost certainly be made without any new law"

    Uh… ok

    Didn't really care.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    In Shaver's case, the family already lives in a another state.

  • Chris P.||

    The whole "they're gonna come after you" argument is, stupid and cowardly anyway, but thwrw's always some clown to give cops superhuman powers

    They're mostly stupid, and almost entirely too lazy to bother.

  • ||

    What we really need is a line of Norman Osborn's who use the money to finish his father's work, go insane, and torment LEOs.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    I'd love to see his widow call a press conference and say,

    "I don't want a dime of the Mesa taxpayer's money. I want the Mesa police chief to unequivocally admit they messed up, then apologize the way Randy Marsh apologized to Jesse Jackson."

    "Second, I want Brailsford's LEO certification revoked, so he never works as a cop again."

  • Chris P.||

    Start a gofundme

  • ||

    This idea is much better than the billboard.

  • Chris P.||

    It's for the billboard.

    Honestly, every single one of your objections either missed the point to force a trial or was trivially dealt with.

  • Chris P.||

    Honestly mad, it's kind of fucking sad that you can't just admit that while it's not your favorite, there's no real reason why it wouldn't work.

    Have a great day.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    She should insist on a trial, and cameras in the court room.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I quite literally have no idea as to what I'm supposed to do in a police confrontation anymore.

    Be an alpha and take control of the situation by instructing them how you are going to comply with their confounding orders.

    Please note: this advice only works if you are white and clean-looking.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well, that's it for me then.

  • retiredfire||

    You do what you are told - even REASON, who is known for not giving the actual story, said the guy they shot didn't - and whatever you do, keep your hands where they can be seen and don't try to grab anything, at any time.

  • Drake||

    Hey, everybody, it's Reason's resident copsucker retiredfire! BLUE LIVES MATTER, BLUE LIVES MATTER!!! SIEG HEIL, SIEG HEIL!!!

  • retiredfire||

    Yes, every now and then I try to educate you fucking retards.
    I know, it is a wasted effort, but its fun.
    How does it feel to be in such a vast minority of the human race?
    Way more people are on the side of law and order than your ideas of anarchy.

  • janon||

    If there were anything approaching karma in the universe people like you would *immediately* be confronted by adrenaline junkie, militarized, cops kicking your door in with AR15s and screaming contradictory commands at you so you could "show us how its done"

  • No Yards Penalty||

    retiredfirefaggot -- do something useful with your gun -- shoot yourself.
    We'll feel better.

  • retiredfire||

    Doesn't using "faggot" attached to a name, as a pejorative, make you a homophobe.
    Your fellow libertine-arians, if they had a consistent bone in their bodies, would excoriate you for that.
    Doesn't sound very NAP to me.

  • tbc||

    Well I guess I should go ahead and plan my funeral

  • ||

    I quite literally have no idea as to what I'm supposed to do in a police confrontation anymore.

    Confrontation connotes a exchange, usually heated, but nominally, the outcome is up for grabs. Shot crawling on the floor, unarmed, or surprised at your front door is more of an execution or ambush. In either event, the whole point is literally and specifically that you don't get to decide the outcome.

    Calling the cops that someone (you) is skulking about the parking garage with a knife, then yelling "Shoot me!" at them while walking towards them, and they're yelling, "Put the knife down!" while backing away, that's more of a confrontation.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "I quite literally have no idea as to what I'm supposed to do in a police confrontation anymore."

    As in many police shooting cases, there is no evidence that Finch knew he was in a "police confrontation". Police procedures must be changed so they don't needlessly create these "quick draw" situations, and they need to prosecuted when they do. Otherwise these tragedies will continue.

  • Zeb||

    That is a big problem. Most people don't interact with police with any regularity, especially not in any situation where the police are ready to use deadly force immediately. It's ridiculous that they are allowed to act as if any non-cop should immediately understand exactly what is expected of them by the cops. It's their job to take personal risk so the general public doesn't have to. There needs to be a clear, immediate danger to the police (and I mean like gun drawn and aimed) before they shoot. If that means a few more cops are shot, so be it. Don't like it, get another job. But if you want to thing you are a fucking hero, then act like one.

  • creech||

    This except I don't think the gun has to be aimed first. In any case, I plan to follow BLM's instructions in any encounter with the cops: put my hands in the air and say "don't shoot." Not foolproof, of course, depending on Officer Peeshispants, but better than making furtive movements, turning and running, etc.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Never wear pants. No waistband, no reaching for your waistband.

  • Jgalt1975||

    You'd think, but what about the naked guy who was charged with carrying a concealed weapon? http://reason.com/blog/2006/11.....e-right-to

  • Zeb||

    It has to be more than visible. If someone comes to their door with a gun in the middle of the night because someone is banging on their door (or breaking in), they don't deserve to be shot. Even if the police announce they are police, there is no reason why home invading criminals (who aren't cops) couldn't yell "police" too.
    There needs to be an apparent immediate threat, not just a visible weapon.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Correction: It's their job to take personal risk so the general public doesn't looter politicians don't have to.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Correction: It's their job to take personal risk so the general public doesn't looter politicians don't have to.

  • malloryknox||

    Graham vs Connor (The scared cop rule) gives the police this "privilege" . That Supreme court ruling will have to be amended before anything changes. It's why they are rarely charged and when they are, it is why the walk. It's impossible to prove or disprove "reasonable belief of fear,in the moment" . The juries have this ruling pounded into their heads in a courtroom. They either acquit or there is a mistrial . In most civilized countries, it is required for there to be an actual threat before law enforcement is permitted to use deadly force. In the U.S. they just have to believe (in the moment they pulled the trigger) that there might have been a possibility of a threat.
    Being in a dangerous situation doesn't make a hero. How you handle being in a dangerous situation is what makes a hero. If your mantra is, "Screw everyone else, innocent or not, I'm going home after my shift." , a hero is not who you are.

  • markm23||

    The rule being followed is that a _subjective_ feeling of risk ("I thought my life was in danger"), no matter how objectively ridiculous, is justification for a cop shooting. There's a name for someone who acts out of fear when it's not objectively justified: coward. Let's stop accepting that _cowards_ can be cops.

    The second thing is that the way this is applied creates two classes of citizens: If a non-police civilian shoots someone that he fears might be about to attack, that decision to shoot is going to be examined in great detail, and only proof by at least a preponderance of evidence that the fear was objectively accurate will keep the shooter out of prison. (I can recall just one case where a non-police civilian shot someone pre-emptively and got off with no more than a misdemeanor violation, and it was over 40 years ago: Bernhard Goetz shot several young men in the NYC subway because his intuition told him they intended to mug him; their police records were enough to convince a jury that Goetz read them correctly.)

    And think of what would happen if a young black man saw police approaching, became in fear of his life, and shot them down! But that's exactly the logic cops have often used to justify shooting a young black man, who turned out to be unarmed.

  • some guy||

    Yep. The onus should be on the police to take every reasonable measure to de-escalate a situation. Police should go into every situation assuming that it's all a big misunderstanding and no one is out to kill anyone else (as this is almost always the case). Police should be trained to recognize and deal with various mental illnesses. Police should be willing to risk their lives to protect any other citizen until that citizen proves themselves to be a threat to others.

    But none of this will happen until police lose their immunity and an adversarial relationship is developed between police and those with the power to prosecute them. This probably calls for an independent prosecutor at the state/federal level that only prosecutes police and exists parallel to, but fully segregated from, traditional prosecutors. Good luck getting that off the ground, though...

  • Zeb||

    Some police are good at dealing with mentally ill people and such. In the town near where I live there was recently an incident where a kid was pretty obviously trying to commit suicide by cop. The cop who responded actually showed incredible patience and de-escalated the situation and no one got shot. I was pleasantly surprised. He could have easily justified shooting the kid, based on what I know about the situation.

    This probably calls for an independent prosecutor at the state/federal level that only prosecutes police and exists parallel to, but fully segregated from, traditional prosecutors.

    I've had similar ideas for a long time. But you are right. It's not going to happen.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yep, so,stokes you get lucky and get Sherrif Andy Taylor. Sometimes you get Barney Fife, or even Little Bill.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    He didn't shoot someone? And he wasn't fired for it?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new.....-1.2790243

  • Robert||

    We hear only about the bad cases. The good resolutions aren't news.

  • markm23||

    True. I'd upvote this if the site took upvotes.

    Most cops try to do their jobs well, and will make an effort and take risks to handle a disturbed person without resorting to dangerous or injurious force. I'd say most cops are good cops - until their partner turns out to be a bad cop. _Then_ 99% of them will lie and conceal evidence to protect that partner, which makes them bad cops.

    A truly good cop is the one that gave another cop a speeding ticket for going far over the speed limit on personal business - and she was harassed and threatened on-line by thousands of police officers.

  • Jury Nullification||

    ""I quite literally have no idea as to what I'm supposed to do in a police confrontation anymore.""

    Uh, with the blinding police lights and profanities, finch should have gone prostrate like a bell triggers a Pavlovian dog. If Finch failed to do that, it's on him. Perhaps Finch foolishly thought he had nothing to hide and was simply reaching to open his pants to prove it.

    And not for nothing but with all that protective gear and cover from the MRAP what real danger were any of the cops in? What a cowardly ambush of Finch. Bet he wished he had a suicide vest as he fell to the ground.

  • damikesc||

    My biggest gripe here is that the kid is going to get punished and the cop is not.

    The police are supposed to be professional, but the simple reality is that, here, literally NOBODY was in any danger until the cops arrived. They introduced the risk.

    Should the SWATTer be punished? Yes. But if the cop is not, how in the hell can the SWATTer be punished?

  • ||

    Yup.

    They aren't sure what Barriss is guilty of, but they're going to disclose his name while they think up some charges. You needn't concern yourself with the anonymous state-bot that actually plugged an innocent man.

  • damikesc||

    They didn't even identify themselves as police. He had no idea there was a problem.

    Though they never will, states need to kill this whole "He was going for a gun" mentality. Unless a gun is found on the suspect, then the cop murdered somebody. No other person gets that benefit of the doubt.

  • Chris P.||

    I told my wife something similar. I don't really care if it was justified or not, I want my police to be better.

  • sarcasmic||

    No other person gets that benefit of the doubt.

    Police officers are the only people that the system truly considers to be innocent until proven guilty without any reasonable doubt.

    Everyone else is guilty. Period. A lawyer might get them off, but they were still guilty.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Should the SWATTer be punished? Yes. But if the cop is not, how in the hell can the SWATTer be punished?

    I suspect their argument will be that the cop was the murder weapon. Which is probably as close as they'll ever get to admitting that cops are brainless morons just mindlessly following "procedure" and incapable of actually thinking like a normal human being.

  • DiegoF||

    It may not be true in the addled minds of progthoritarians that "guns don't kill people; people kill people," but if there's one thing that can bring them and the conservative cop-bootlickers together, it's the eternal truth that individual cops don't kill people, only larger forces like institutional white supremacy and toxic gamer culture do.

  • kV||

    Imagine the prosecutor's argument if they try to get the SWATTer on depraved indifference or even criminally negligent homicide: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant knew, or should have known, that the police often kill unarmed people in the course of SWAT raids."

  • Jerryskids||

    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant knew, or should have known, that the police often kill unarmed people in the course of SWAT raids."

    And yet that's the exact point of SWATting somebody - there's a good chance something bad is going to happen to an innocent person and everybody knows it. It's like releasing a bag of rattlesnakes into somebody's camping tent - you can't plausibly argue that you had no idea, no intent, that the occupant of the tent might get bitten by a rattlesnake. But rattlesnakes bear no moral responsibility for their actions, they're rattlesnakes and they don't know any better. That's what's the outrage here, that it's expected that calling the cops on an innocent, unsuspecting victim might result in their being shot because cops are no more morally responsible for their actions than any dumb animal.

  • Aresen||

    I feel I have to speak up for rattlesnakes here.

    Rattlesnakes try to avoid confrontations and don't get paid vacations.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Which is why I agree with those upthread who say this will never go to trial. Barris will be allowed to plead guilty to some comparatively slap-on-the-wrist sentence because the prosecutor can't try him without putting the whole nature of police shootings on trial.

  • DenverJ||

    Which is why the go fund me should pay for his defense but only if he takes it to trial, instead of some stupid billboard

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    And then, when people start treating police officers as they would any other dangerous animal, the cops (and the people with cops' ballprints on their chins) act all butthurt.

  • Rebel Scum||

    leading one officer to fear he had drawn a weapon.

    If you don't actually see a weapon pointed at you, you don't get to shoot someone. These pussies go in to these places already at an advantageous position because they already have their weapons drawn and proceed to shoot someone because they flinched slightly or tried to adjust their pants. Cops are supposed to be trained to deal with these situations. We should hold them to at least the same standard as any of us lackey's would be held. (if not higher...)

  • sarcasmic||

    Cops are trained in two things: officer safety and total compliance.

    So anything that could possibly be perceived as a threat to themselves or another officer not only justifies deadly force, but requires deadly force. Same with total compliance. Failure to obey not only justifies deadly force, but requires it.

    Failure on the part of a police officer to use deadly force against a threat, even a minor one, or against someone who fails to obey, are the only two things that can get a cop fired.

    Restraint is weakness, and weakness shall not be tolerated.

  • retiredfire||

    You, really, need to stop demonstrating how utterly brainless you are.

  • Drake||

    And you really need to stop sucking all that cop dick, but I ain't gonna hold MY breath! ;)

  • retiredfire||

    You are a very big homophobe, if you use "sucking dick" as though it was a bad thing.
    You will fail to meet he standards of the rest of the cheapskate progressives - AKA libertarians.
    Very aggressive of you.
    Tut tut.

  • janon||

    Funny... you call libertarians "cheapskate progressives", I call them right wingers who like to smoke pot and get laid. The latter is much more appropriate given that both of you share *abject hatred* of government, which is a privilege you can both enjoy since most of you are white. Of course *your* hatred of government ends when it comes to your love of your enforcers, who you envision *only* inflict atrocities on the "undesirables" (aka brown people, to right wing assholes)

    Either way, the response of right wing subhumans when it comes to the *endless* unarmed civilian murders committed at the hands of *civil servants* proves that its the right wing "conservatives" who are the true cancer in society.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Fore, I'm more conservative than you could possibly imagine ( I favor a constitutional amendment outlawing all Marxism for one), and I'm telling you you're wrong. By your handle, I assume you are a career firefighter. If so, I know there will be no telling you anything, as 'cop good, cop can never be wrong' is hard wired into your brain.

    Nevertheless, cops are out of control and need to be held accountable.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    retiredfirefaggot -- I know you meant to click on CopLickers.com but somehow ended up here.
    You should check your links.

  • retiredfire||

    No, this is where the education of what goes on in the real world, outside mommy's basement, is most needed.
    You people have no idea what you are talking about, yet you keep on posting it, making yourselves just look like the out-of-touch fools libertarians are.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "Cops are supposed to be trained to deal with these situations."

    They are—by shooting first without hesitation.

  • kV||

    Here's what I don't get: why is the standard for "reasonably feared for my life" set by the reaction of just one pants-shitting cop? How many other cops on the scene saw the exact same thing and didn't fire their weapons?

  • WoodChipperBob||

    Not that it's likely to go to trial, but if I were the prosecutor trying to convict the shooter, this would be one of my arguments.

  • Jury Nullification||

    "How many other cops on the scene saw the exact same thing and didn't fire their weapons?"

    Lack of incentive. Only the cop who shoots 1st gets to put the kill emblem on his police cruiser door. No trophy for an assist.

  • malloryknox||

    "If you don't actually see a weapon pointed at you, you don't get to shoot someone."

    I don't and you don't but U.S. law enforcement does.
    Supreme Court ruling , Graham vs Connor gives them permission to do just that.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "Fatal 'Swatting' Episode in Kansas Raises Quandary: Who Is to Blame?"

    Does anyone else find it interesting that the NYT is having trouble figuring this out?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Interesting, not really. Cause to drink, sure.

  • ||

    I think it is interesting that in one of the few cases of SWATting where somebody got killed *and* they can identify the caller it's front-page news. To the point where the conspiracy gears get to cranking about a guy who just happened to have been previously arrested for a highly similar crime.

    400 SWAT calls in the past couple years with no deaths means this is becoming a budget problem. Again, not to assert a specific conspiracy but keep a loser felon's known whereabouts in your pocket and if a SWAT call goes bad you've got a patsy, can pass a law, and 'do something' about this scourge.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If Barriss is indeed the man who called the police, he is responsible for sending a group of armed people into an environment where they believed violence was happening and innocent lives were at stake. Now, what that looks like in terms of holding Barriss criminally responsible is a complicated and challenging problem. Libertarian lawyer Ken "Popehat" White has suggested rewriting laws to make swatting somebody a felony. Read his explanation here.

    All this is well and good, but if we focus on the actual shooting itself, the justification for the shooting was reed-thin, and the SWAT team handcuffed everyone, including the people they believed were hostages. Is this normal procedure?

  • Zeb||

    the SWAT team handcuffed everyone, including the people they believed were hostages. Is this normal procedure?

    I would think that part is, at least. Getting everyone under control and then making sure you have all the bad guys properly identified seems like a smart way to do it. It's not necessarily easy to distinguish hostages from hostage takers.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If Finch's shooting is deemed "justifiable," what is the extent that Barress could be held criminally liable?

    This is actually very solid logic. If the police are able to justify all of their own actions, from end-to-end, then Barriss did was nothing more than a childish prank.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Quit trying to bring logic into it, Paul! The police will protect their own based on All Procedures Followed*, and the unsympathetic douchebag will be convicted - at least in the court of public opinion, if he has a smart attorney. Logic doesn't have anything to do with it.

    *The nature and necessity of these Procedures shall also not be questioned.

  • Chris P.||

    It is a very interesting question, and I await the contortions to come by the police.

  • Rhywun||

    This. Someone has discovered an easy way to get away with murder.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Finch didn't obey officer's clear commands. That's the problem. Barriss is just an incidental figure in all of this.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Did you forget the /sarc, or are you insane?

  • Rebel Scum||

    It's sarcasm.

  • EscherEnigma||

    No, I think Paul is on-spot.

    The problem is that Finch didn't obey the officer's commands, and that failure to do so, even when there is no reason to suspect it's from a legitimate authority†, is grounds for the death penalty, to be applied immediately.

    Until we change that: that execution is acceptable punishment for failure to instantly and completely comply with multiple contradicting orders from police officers that have failed to identify themselves as police officers, then these stories will continue.
    ________
    †Everyone else's definition, not libertarian definition.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Did you forget the /sarc, or are you insane?

    I don't believe in providing a road map with the jokes.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Some of us need the map. I'm not too proud to ask directions.

  • Chris P.||

    "If Barriss is indeed the man who called the police, he is responsible for sending a group of armed people into an environment where they believed violence was happening and innocent lives were at stake"

    No, he isn't. He didn't force them to go anywhere or do anything.

  • Vernon Depner||

    The police unreasonably acted as if a voice on a 911 call is a trustworthy source of information in a life-or-death situation. If you call for EMTs and tell them you're having a stroke, they will not begin treating you for stroke on arrival. They will do their own assessment of your condition and act accordingly. We must expect the same from police.

  • Chris P.||

    "Wait… you just… took it at face value?!?!!"

    Any reporter worth a damn to the police.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Any reporter on his last day on the police beat.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Next thing you're going to tell me is Twitter is a poor original source for journalism.

  • Chris P.||

    Sounds like a good thing to me.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Having heard part of the audio of the call, that should be the exact question being asked.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Yes but having a fucking stroke isn't the same as some a-hole holding people hostage so I don't get where you think doing the triage is the same. Skepticism about the veracity of a 911 emergency caller until confirmation by someone on scene is bad optics.

  • Zeb||

    He didn't force them, but I think it's still fair to say that he is responsible. Predictable consequences of his actions and all that.

  • Chris P.||

    "but I think it's still fair to say that he is responsible."

    You're wrong.

  • Zeb||

    The original statement was "he is responsible for sending a group of armed people into an environment where they believed violence was happening and innocent lives were at stake".

    He is in fact responsible for that at the very least. Whether or not he is responsible for the death is another question.

  • Chris P.||

    "He is in fact responsible for that at the very least. "

    Nope.

    He is responsible for a prank call. That should have done nothing more than alert the cops to look closer. Everything else was on the cops.

    Including believing anything he said.

  • Zeb||

    Calling the cops on someone is an act of aggression.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    So LEO goes and looks closer and it's really some nut who plugs the cop. How does it get relayed to the emergency dispatcher that the original call about a hostage situation was true?

  • Vernon Depner||

    They have radios and stuff.

  • DenverJ||

    I suspect that there may be, just maybe, somewhere in-between sending one lone officer to check it out and sending an entire squad of hyped up adrenaline junkies with drawn guns, body armor, etc, to summarily execute a man in his own home, minding his own business.

  • Chris P.||

    "Predictable consequences"

    Ask the cops if they predictably shoot unarmed victims of prank calls and get back to me.

  • EscherEnigma||

    They're incentivized to lie.

  • TW||

    I'm fine with making Swatting a felony and if it leads to a death as it did in this case, charging the Swatter with felony murder. Kansas has the death penalty and if Barress did make the phony 911 call, I hope he gets the needle for it.

  • Chris P.||

    Ok Tulpa.

  • Vernon Depner||

    But if it was felony murder on the part of the caller, how can it not be on the part of the officer?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Because the cop was just the murder weapon, not a thinking human being with a brain and free will. The cop is nothing more than a brainless inanimate object. /sarc, but not really

  • retiredfire||

    Assuming "felony murder" is any death caused by a felonious act, then the caller would be guilty.
    That the police officer acted in compliance with the law, when the death occurred, is irrelevant.
    Unless you are part of the brain-dead REASON commenters, who think every cop needs to be punished for not letting you smoke your weed.

  • Drake||

    Yeah, that's right, it's all about weed. Some fucking pig plugs an innocent man for no goddamned reason and people get pissed about it but you gotta come in and reduce it to FUCKING WEED like a good little statist. Nutless copsucker, making excuses for murderous government thugs like it's nothing, eh? Typical.

    And it's good to see you revealed for the committed drug warrior you are. I mean it's obvious to me and anyone who pays attention to your insolent posts, but it definitely clarifies your wholesale contempt for the Constitution writ large ["strict constructionist" my ass], so I appreciate it. ;)

  • retiredfire||

    Yes. That's why you assholes hate the cops so much. They're the ones that bust you for it.
    Admit it.
    Actually, I am a true libertarian when it comes to drug laws, but I also know that the cops are about as far from making those laws as anyone else. They are just the ones who get paid to enforce them.
    You clowns just want to pin a target on the most obvious.
    You can't help it. It is a natural reaction from those who lack intellect.

  • markm23||

    In most states, one partner in a convenience store robbery may be charged with felony murder if the store clerk kills the other robber. The store clerk is obviously not culpable. The guy that conspired with the dead guy to create the situation that led to the death is culpable.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Police officers just charging into unknown, potentially dangerous situations with guns drawn is fine, though. Right?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yep, because Reefer Madness! Cops are like Oneida™ followers, incapable of doing wrong--kind of like the dedication of the 2016 version of God's Own Prohibitionists' political platform. The Dem platform could have included a repeal plank, as in 1932, to eliminate mebbe half of these confrontations. But noooooo...

  • GeneralWeygand||

    As long as it's my family they are trying to help, fuck yeah. If it's your family, why do I give a shit?

  • DiegoF||

    Fuck felony murder. It's a blatantly overbroad notion that has produced some strange consequences.
    .
    I am pro death penalty, and it is true that the caller's actions were premeditated in a way the cop's were not (if also less direct and less deliberate). But I think I'll save my hang-'em-high passion for wishing more cops got the needle when they murder people. If a state is so generous with the death penalty that you get stuck for felony murder, surely we can save a few more cells on the Row for the 'po.

  • ||

    Fuck felony murder. It's a blatantly overbroad notion that has produced some strange consequences.

    It also happens to have the completely normal and expected consequence of, through a trial and jury of peers, convicting people who killed someone of murder.

    It's not a federally-generated mandatory sentencing guideline (as was kinda-sorta recommended by a libertarian lawyer).

  • DiegoF||

    It also happens to have the completely normal and expected consequence of, through a trial and jury of peers, convicting people who killed someone of murder.

    What, these are our standards now? They passed a law that also sticks it to some bad guys who really deserve it, so it's good?

    I do not really give a shit whether it is Federal or not. And as for it not being a mandatory minimum, that does ameliorate the evils of a bad law (and again, you didn't contest the evil, just reminded me of the good), but it doesn't eliminate them. Preserving prosecutorial discretion is important--when it's the discretion to be merciful. Condoning laws that can be used to persecute people and then saying, oh, a reasonable prosecutor can use his common sense, is insane. It's pretty much the opposite of what we (liberals) should be fighting for.

    I think we could target our statutes better than Felony Murder does. And remember, this isn't some bleeding heart you're talking to. I favor the death penalty. And not just for murder.

  • ||

    Read Ken White's article. He's saying false reports that cause the police to respond by dispatching SWAT should be an unequivocal felony. In this case, the felony would extend across state lines. You're saying felony murder is bad. I don't exactly disagree except to say that the definition of felony has crept further and wider than necessary. Either way, that discussion is moot because the options proposed are the prosecutorial descretion involved in felony murder, which fall short of Ken's need for justice/vengence, and a hypothetical felony anti-SWATting law.

    And, yes, the NAP has been our standard since forever. Barriss wasn't looking to feed his starving children by sticking up a baker and gave the baker a heart attack in the process. He knowingly initiated aggression by sending armed men to assault someone with whom he was quarreling and in the process, arguably, got someone killed. Even then, it's highly likely he won't/wouldn't be tried for felony murder. This is the very idea of prosecutorial descretion that you're lauding and which Ken is arguing against.

    You can't have it both/all ways, I'm saying Barriss is guilty of something and if the potential of charging him with a locally-enforced, common law charge like felony murder prevents Congress from passing another worse law, awesome. If only the Drug War were so easily subverted.

  • DiegoF||

    I think we substantially agree. What happened is I made a very marginal point to begin with, then I forgot about the context of your point in the first place in replying to you. Obviously there are far greater injustices than a felony murder case for doing something like this, and I do like the idea better than an anti-SWATting law--especially a Federal one, which you're right we would not be surprised to see debated. I, too, would love for people like this to be charged under existing statutes. (And, of course, for cops to face justice.)

    If there's a real flaw in your reasoning, it's probably the idea that justice being properly served by existing law would be in any sense taken by our lawmaking class to be counterevidence to the thesis that Something Must Be Done. See: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Act.

  • Zeb||

    The problem is that it can also lead to convicting people who didn't kill anyone of murder.

  • DenverJ||

    Hmm... I don't think he will be tried in Kansas. His actions took place in California, which is where he was arrested, is being held, and where the bond was issued. It will be the State of California vs Dumbass, unless the feds wanna take over.

  • Paloma||

    As long as the cop gets the needle for it also

  • Longtobefree||

    Unanswered question -
    How did the cops NOT KNOW the call came from LA?????
    If they can't afford caller id, they can't afford a SWAT team.
    The cops I know that are or have been SWAT always start out with reconnaissance, and might have figured out things were not as advertised. This is the fundamental of officer safety; know what you are walking into. The 911 people are wrong. The cop higher ups are wrong. The citizens on the street are wrong. You have to go look yourself.

  • EscherEnigma||

    How would caller ID help? All that tells you is the area code, and all that tells you is where someone lived when they got their first cell phone. For example, I haven't had a local area code on my phone number since 2003.

    Actually tracing the call might help, as that would tell you that the call is being routed through LA, but I think that routinely tracing all incoming calls to the emergency response line is probably still a bridge too far (for now. Give it a few years).

    Last paragraph is spot-on, but caller ID ain't good enough.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    E911 is supposed to deal with that-- as best as I know.

    However, it's possible the ID of the call was spoofed-- although I haven't read how the identified Barriss. Makes me think Barriss was not spoofing his number which means that 911 might have known. Unfortunately, this is a debate which requires a little more info. It's certainly a question to ponder.

  • DenverJ||

    Spoofing your number is easy. They know who it was because fellow gamers gave him up.

  • Dizzle||

    What i really want to hear is the interaction between this retard bariss and whoever punked him with the fake address.

    It probably consists of much gum flapping by barriss, several tough guy lines, a few "i f'd your mom/sister/female relative", and repeated challenges to fight "if you weren't to pussy to tell me where you live". The punker just gave him what he wanted to troll this tard.

    I have a feeling wed all be siding with who punked him and would be hoping he's sentenced, beaten, and/or castrated simply for being the worthless d bag he is, regardless of law.

    Keep in mind, this is a guy who was seeking real retribution over a video game...

    I'm honestly not sure who i think is the bigger fuckup, him or the cops. Because you know if you knew either personally youd hate them both.

  • markm23||

    I thought all modern 911 systems automatically displayed the location of the caller to the dispatcher. Land line phone locations are in the phone company database, and cell phones readily resolve to at least the nearest cell tower. It is possible that Barris set up his call to be relayed through a local site - how difficult is that, and what sort of traces would be left to tie him to the call? It's probably easier to spoof the phone number as a local number, and hope the 911 system goes no further than to look up that number.

    But IMO, it's entirely possible that this county pumped a million dollars into equipment for a SWAT team, but never modernized their 911 system. It's also entirely possible that "Origin of call: xxxx, CA" was right in front of the dispatcher and ignored in his excitement about something actually happening in Wichita...

  • Vernon Depner||

    When John Crawford was murdered by police in Ohio, the 911 caller was a few feet away talking to the dispatcher as the police approached Crawford, and the dispatcher was relaying the caller's lies about what was happening, to the officers, in real time. Acting entirely on the caller's lying play-by-play, they shot Crawford on sight. The caller was not prosecuted.

  • DenverJ||

    Doesn't count: Crawford was black.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Police chief admits this is a 'national trend' [SWATing] So if he's aware of this as a trend, officers need to keep in mind that they're at the address of an entirely innocent family who'll likely be confused as to why they're being screamed at by a bunch of armed people in front of their house.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    they may be at the address*

  • DiegoF||

    Ha! His mouth was running on moral-panic muscle memory there. "Citizens, the national threat from Four Loko-addled creepy clowns has reached its highest level in modern history. So please remain vigilant. Do not let children under the age of 18 (and possibly 25, as their brains are not fully formed) be without adult supervision at any time. And know that your brave police officers are hard at work fighting this threat, at great danger to their lives. Please be patient with our mechanized-infantry unit as we set up random stops to search anal cavities for bendy balloons. And be advised of our zero-tolerance arrest policy (if you see something, say something) for unsupervised children in this critical time, especially if mom or kid is really hot."
    .
    This time (because he'd be doing something besides police chief if he had any brains), though, dumbass didn't realize his words were actually inculpatory.
    .
    Ah well, joke's on us anyway, not him. Nobody will pay for it regardless.

  • Tony||

    A modest proposal: people whose arms have been amputated at the elbow cannot reach for their waists.

  • Flinch||

    You're a genius Tony - prosthetics can accommodate a 6" barrel with ease while simultaneously serving as camouflage for the concealed weapon. The challenge is designing a trigger mechanism that also allows normal mobility. Don't ever propose anything again.

  • chemjeff||

    They are all responsible, to a greater or lesser degree.

    Barriss, by initiating the action with his false report.
    His online interlocutor, for giving an address that wasn't actually 'fake', since real people lived at that address.
    The cop, for being far too trigger-happy.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Remember that it's possible the cop was following required procedure exactly. Individual officers should be held responsible for their actions, but that alone won't solve the problem. Police violence is not a problem of "bad cops"; it's a problem of bad expectations of cops, bad procedures, and bad ideas about the relationship between citizens and government.

  • Chris P.||

    "Barriss, by initiating the action with his false report."

    I'm discussing this upthrwad with Zeb, who is being an idiot about it, and I will absolutely agree here.

    Charge him with whatever a prank caller gets. No more, no less.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    This is far more than a prank call, and it is reasonable to believe that the caller would understand that.

  • ||

    ^This^

    He wasn't requesting fake pizza deliveries and got the police by mistake.

  • Zeb||

    Dude, stop being an idiot. Chris P. has spoken.

  • Jury Nullification||

    "This is far more than a prank call..."

    Let's say it was a real call but the situation had resolved itself before the cops arrived. It's reasonable to believe that any cop should understand that is possible. You know, when seconds count and cops are minutes away.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, dude, anyone disagreeing with you must be an idiot.

    This was more than a prank call. It's a false report to police and recklessly endangering innocent people. Calling the cops on someone, even when it's legit, is serious business.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Here here...

  • Dizzle||

    Nah, you know the convo leading up to the fake address exchange was probably preceded by barris repeatedly challenging the guy to a fight "if he wasn't too pussy to tell me where he lived". This is very common once you play any online game that gets people fired up.

    Chances of barris being a classic video game douche are quite high. He deserves punishment for douchiness, on top of whatever else he gets.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Good observations, even if there is a missing space typo between crime and is. The entire Republican and Democrat entrenched kleptocracy soft machine is largely to blame. Cops take kill orders from politicians, and both parties send men with guns--not to stop robbery and violence--but to perpetrate and perpetuate them. Small wonder that the mock trials Jefferson complained of in 1776 are once again routine practices by force-initiating looters to protect their hired murderers.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    When the government kills you by mistake, aren't we all really to blame?

    Really?

  • Vernon Depner||

    That would be true in a democracy.

  • ||

    Government is simply the name we give to killing innocent people together.

  • Juice||

    Um...yeah, that's actually pretty accurate.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Well, yes.

    We live with representative democracy. Legitimized by the Social Contract. So we are the government, and the government is just us. So when a lawful police officer, employed by the government (which is us), kills you, it just means you committed suicide.

  • Tony||

    At least all the horrible psychopaths survived.

  • ||

    In all the years of reading your comments on this forum... all the terrible ideas, oxymorinic logic, and retarded commentary... this is the one post I think I've LOLed at.

  • Tony||

    When the qualification they seek at police academies is "You must have graduated high school, barely," you can hardly expect such higher mental processes as distinguishing between moving things you should or shouldn't shoot.

  • Vernon Depner||

    The low standards are necessary for diversity.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Applicants also have to pass a polygraph test to weed out people who aren't good at lying about crimes they've committed. Source: my ex-brother-in-law, who flunked the polygraph 3 times before passing it and getting admitted to the academy on the 4th try.

  • Tony||

    I have a good friend who went through because of a weird local requirement for government officials to be trained as deputies, and he said that at least in his jurisdiction they use the psych evals to screen in favor of psychopathic tendencies.

    It's oddly comforting to know that we could fix some of the problem by changing such front-end policies.

  • Drake||

    Yeah, it *could*, but it won't. There's lots of easy 'coulds' out there. Take the Vatican for example. Yeah, Francis *could* go after all the pedophiles and their enablers [like that asshole who was THIRD IN LINE who just got arrested] but that doesn't mean he will. And don't tell me he "didn't know". Oh, he knew alright. There's no way in hell he COULDN'T know, being the top dog and all.. which means he's in on it and calling the shots all along.

    Same goes for the bluecoats and their protectors. They know it all and CHOOSE to do nothing. It's just that fucking simple.

  • retiredfire||

    Your friend sounds like as big an idiot as you are.

  • Sigivald||

    If Barriss is indeed the man who called the police, he is responsible for sending a group of armed people into an environment where they believed violence was happening and innocent lives were at stake. Now, what that looks like in terms of holding Barriss criminally responsible is a complicated and challenging problem.

    Felony murder rule, anyone?

  • JoeGoins||

    Felony murder only applies, like the name suggests, when someone commits a felony resulting in a death. Unfortunately, filing a false police report and misusing 911 are misdemeanor crimes.

  • JoeGoins||

    The problem with this article is that it assumes the shooting wasn't justified. We've seen no evidence to that effect one way or the other. The author completely dismisses that idea by saying: "[t]hat's right—they went straight to the well-worn '[t]he officer thought he was reaching for a weapon' defense even though we all know by now that he was just some random guy." Hindsight is 20/20. Everyone knows he was an innocent bystander by now, but he was as suspected murderer and hostage taker when the police arrived on scene.

  • Vernon Depner||

    That's utter nonsense. Even if we allow the absurd assertions that the word of a 911 caller is sufficient to act as if a dangerous suspect is on the scene, and that the police should be able to kill unarmed, unthreatening suspects on sight, the police in this case still had no way of knowing that this particular person was the suspect. If the situation really had been as described, Finch might have been a hostage or other innocent person. The police had a duty to assess the situation for themselves. There have been numerous cases of wrong-door SWAT raid in which innocent people have been injured or killed—the police are no doubt aware of that and must be required to consider that possibility, and the possibility that the 911 caller was mistaken or lying. The killing of Finch was inexcusably reckless at the time, not just in hindsight.

  • XM||

    Given that this was possibly an "active shooter" scenario for the police, how do they assess this situation in a way that would have prevented the shooting? This isn't like what happened in Long Beach, where a drunk guy with a garden hose head was mistaken as a random gunman. No one reported that he had shot someone. The police had ample time to call the house or check in with his neighbor.

    According to the NYT, the police were already staking out the home anticipating a hostage situation (who had also heard that the shooter threatened to burn down the house, meaning bomb threats were likely a factor). The victim heard a noise and went out to check it out. That's when the officer's ordered him to put his hands up.

    Here's a body cam of the swatting.

    http://patterico.com/2017/12/2.....s-someone/

    You can't really tell what's going on, and only a proper investigation or a trial will determine if the officer acted properly. Until then, the only blame for the death falls on the prank caller, who clearly INTENDED harm the target with the prank call.

    Could the cops have handled this better? Maybe, but that depends on how much of threat they perceived this to be, and what their policy is on addressing such situations.

  • Deflator Mouse||

    Damn. That 911 call sounds very dubious. Doesn't sound like a person who is in fear for their life at all. Also the caller only gave the street address and zip code which should be fucking suspicious as hell.

    The body cam video makes it look like he reaches down to his waist, possibly pulling down the bottom of his sweatshirt/jacket, because it was riding up when he had his hands up. Then he puts his arms out in front, probably to unbunch the sleeves. However, from the distance the cops were at it could be mistaken for reaching for a gun in his waistband and then pointing it at them.

  • JoeGoins||

    "Even if we allow the absurd assertions that the word of a 911 caller is sufficient to act as if a dangerous suspect is on the scene"
    Why is it "absurd" to believe "the word of a 911 caller"? I guess the police should be nonchalant about school shootings and armed robberies.

    "and that the police should be able to kill unarmed, unthreatening suspects on sight"
    [1] You're using an anachronism to judge the situation when you say he was unarmed.
    [2] Who said he was "unthreatening"? The police chief said that the officer thought he was a threat, and the publicly released video was of so little quality that it doesn't show anything. You have no rational basis for saying that the guy didn't pose a danger to the officers.

    "the police in this case still had no way of knowing that this particular person was the suspect."
    [1] You defeated your own statement at the beginning of the sentence by assuming that a suspect could have existed based solely on a 911 call.
    [2] That's irrelevant. The question was never "is this guy the suspect" but rather "is this guy a threat?"

    "The police [...] must be required to consider that possibility, and the possibility that the 911 caller was mistaken or lying."
    You clearly have no concept of the self-defense and Fourth Amendment jurisprudence surrounding this case.

    Why don't you go home to your momma's basement and leave the commenting to real men?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Next, frustrated into a need to display physical prowess, the creature will throw himself against the transparency.

  • retiredfire||

    JoeGoins:
    "Why don't you go home to your momma's basement and leave the commenting to real men?"
    You won't find many of those, here.

  • Drake||

    Too bad you can't switch places with the victim. I mean I'm sure YOUR ghost would be far more understanding of the cops, afterall! Like you said, hindsight is 20/20, right? Right. Tsst tsst. Such a shame... ;)

  • JoeGoins||

    This article is about holding the police officer criminally responsible for the incident. The legal standard for more than two hundred years is that the police need to be judged based on how they understood the incident at the time. Let's look at the only facts that matter:

    The caller make a fake emergency call to 911.
    The 911 center dispatched the police for an active shooter armed with a handgun.
    The police arrived to the address they were given.
    The deceased opened the door.
    The police gave clear commands to the deceased for him to show his hands.
    The deceased disregarded the clear commands to show his hands.
    The deceased reached toward his waistline—a handgun hiding spot about which every cop knows.
    The deceased stuck his hands out in a movement that resembled a shooting stance.
    The police officer felt that his life or others were in jeopardy.
    The police officer fired his weapon at the deceased.
    The deceased died.

    Given the facts as I laid them out above, was the decision to shoot Andrew Finch objectively reasonable at the time the shot was fired? Unfortunately, yes.

    And I wouldn't have been shot because I have the good sense to comply while not reach toward my waistline.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Your "facts" and the conclusions you draw from them are wrong, and calling the shooting "objectively reasonable" is begging the question because it assumes privileges for the police which are in fact the main issue under contention in this discussion.

    Fake and mistaken emergency calls, and bad information relayed from dispatch or other sources, and injuries and deaths resulting from these lies, mistakes, and misinformation, are very common. These officers can't be unaware of that. To protect the safety of the public, we must insist that police properly assess situations themselves rather than assuming the accuracy of second-hand information and use tactics that minimize the risk to innocent citizens. We must insist that police assume the risk themselves rather than putting citizens at risk. That's their job.

    You have no way of knowing what Mr. Finch perceived. As I have pointed out in other posts, we know it is not realistic to expect surprised innocent people in such situations to instantly understand and obey commands in these situations.

    The police did not see any weapon. Mr. Finch committed no aggression against police.

    What the police officer "felt" cannot be acceptable justification for police using deadly force. It is the job of the police to accept such perceived risk rather than shirking their responsibilities and pushing off the risk to the public by shooting first on the basis of a feeling. They saw no weapon, and there was no aggression on Finch's part.

  • Vernon Depner||

    You have no way of knowing that your "good sense" would save you in such a situation. We have see numerous situations in which citizens who posed no threat have failed to obey orders from the police quickly and exactly enough to avoid harm. It is evident that people with no ill intentions often are simply unable to do so.

  • JoeGoins||

    "Your "facts" and the conclusions you draw from them are wrong, and calling the shooting "objectively reasonable" is begging the question because it assumes privileges for the police which are in fact the main issue under contention in this discussion."
    The facts I gave are objective; I linked the video so you could see them. Can you disprove anything I said?

    "To protect the safety of the public, we must insist that police properly assess situations themselves rather than assuming the accuracy of second-hand information..."
    The constitutional standard is "probable cause" and second-hand information meets that criteria. If it didn't, police would never leave Dunkin' Donunts to go to school shootings and armed robberies.

    "...and use tactics that minimize the risk to innocent citizens."
    The police should endeavor to protect innocents. But how should they have responded to this call about an active shooter with multiple hostages? Should only one officer have driven over there, knocked on the door, and politely asked if there was a problem?

    "You have no way of knowing what Mr. Finch perceived."
    What Andrew Finch perceived is completely immaterial to the topic at hand. Regardless of what people feel about the police, the law says that the police need to be obeyed when they give commands. If nothing else, common sense dictates that the guy holding the gun is in charge.

  • Vernon Depner||

    You are ignoring all my points and repeating yourself. We're done here.

    http://yourlogicalfallacyis.co.....e-question

  • jcfromnj||

    "the law says that the police need to be obeyed when they give commands." Where is the evidence of that ? Those commands are nothing more than internal policies.

  • Response||

    Regarding figuring out the chargers for Barriss - how is this not any different than screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater or such?

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Because the Chargers season is over.

  • Vernon Depner||

    For one thing, acts like screaming "fire" might only be misdemeanors, which would not trigger the consequences for deaths that occur in the commission of a felony. For another, government is going to be loath to admit that the police showing up is a predictable threat to the safety of innocent people.

  • Flinch||

    It's worse. A miscreant has to BE in the crowded theatre to yell 'fire', which puts him at risk too.

  • Devastator||

    Having never had a bad encounter with police I have my doubts about Reason's seeming position that every cop is out looking to give a beat down to somebody at least once a week. Obviously some police abuse their power, it's inevitable. This matter will be investigated and we'll find out. The guy who called though should be up for Murder 1, as he knew this could easily end up with someone dead in this encounter; he needs to get the needle.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Sarcasm? Hand me that map again, Paul.

  • Tony||

    I'm confused; is ending someone's life bad or not?

  • Longtobefree||

    if by abortion, good; otherwise, bad.

  • Bob Meyer||

    About a thousand people are killed by police every year. The cases of lost body cameras and cameras that magically fail just at the moment when a civilian is killed are simply too common to be coincidences.

    A case of a homeless, mentally ill man who was beaten to death by two vicious monsters in blue resulted in no one being convicted of a crime. The man was on the ground crying out "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" while he was being beaten. His last words were "Dad, help me!" What was his crime? Loitering.

    I defy any father to watch that video, hear those words and not either burst into tears or want to beat those "peace officers" to death.

    The case was so egregious that the fact that it happened without consequences to the officers says that there must be many more cases without cell phone videos by strangers to tell the whole story.

    Check Wikipedia "Death of Kelly Thomas"

  • JoeGoins||

    @BobMeyer — Are you complaining because a jury of their peers found the officers not guilty? That is justice.

  • Drake||

    Hey guys, looks like we got a new one.

    [JoeGoins|1.3.18 @ 12:31AM|#

    @BobMeyer — Are you complaining because a jury of their peers found the officers not guilty? That is justice.]

    HAHA! So what? OJ was found not guilty too, you fucking moron. Being found 'guilty' or 'not guilty' don't mean shit in this world. We all know he did it. But I guess that's "justice" to you, huh? Eat shit, lemming.

    No, that ain't justice. You wanna know what justice is? Justice would be giving OJ and those worthless pigs the Alex Murphy treatment. Now THAT'S justice, AND alot of fun! YEEEE HAWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Arizona_Guy||

    They killed Kelly Thomas for no good reason. It's all on film. How a jury voted does not change that fact.

  • Longtobefree||

    Never confuse a court of law with a hall of justice.

  • JoeGoins||

    Reason is very anti-police and anti-statist. That doesn't bode well for them as they allow others to define its beliefs.

  • Paloma||

    So were the Founding Fathers of this country.

  • Drake||

    [Paloma|1.3.18 @ 3:00AM|#

    So were the Founding Fathers of this country.]

    Damn straight. This country was forged in rebellion against the State. Hell, the Boston Massacre was a clear-cut example of tyranny AND police brutality. Really clarified things going forward, I'd say.

  • Drake||

    [JoeGoins|1.3.18 @ 12:16AM|#

    Reason is very anti-police and anti-statist.]

    What, and you're PRO-statist? It's BAD to hate the government? THAT'S your argument? LOL!!!! Yeah, you're a good little citizen, ain't ya boy? You TRUST your government. Such a loyal peasant. Awww, how precious.

    [That doesn't bode well for them as they allow others to define its beliefs.]

    And copsucking faggots like you don't bode well for the future of liberty. Anyone who'd say they're PRO-statist is a sniveling cunt and an enemy of freedom. Fuck off, slaver.

  • JoeGoins||

    I never said that I was pro-state because I'm not. Being pro-state or anti-state locks you into a position were you have to defend your position rather than looking at the facts at hand.

  • retiredfire||

    JoeGoins,
    REASON feeds into the comments by not giving all the details.
    Those, who call themselves Libertarians on this site are just anarchists.

  • Mcgoo95||

    No, they're people who don't want to be shot at their front door in their underwear for no good reason.

  • JoeGoins||

    Nice to know.

  • Galane||

    Why haven't the telephone companies done anything to make it impossible, or even very difficult, to spoof caller ID?

    I'm usually against more government regulation but for Caller ID it should be required that all businesses have the ID displayed and accurate. The only exceptions should be for places like women's shelters or other places where the safety of the people there could be compromised by having the ID shown with calls.

    For residential phones the only option should be to show the name and phone number, or no data at all. Residential addresses in Caller ID should only be visible to 911 or other public safety agencies.

    Then there are services such as Google Voice, which often get used by scammers and SWATters to hide their location. Google is going to have to be forced to cooperate better with law enforcement when they're tracking down criminals using their service. Google has no way to report scammers using Google Voice. A thousand people can post on their forum about scam calls coming from the same Google Voice number and Google WILL NOT do anything about it. Can we get all 50 States to go together and sue Google over their practices that actively aid criminals?

  • Flinch||

    This goes back to what Skype developed: using the internet to make long distance calls that appear local in origin, by taking part of that traffic off of the telco grid [but using the same exact telco infrastructure technology to do so, be it copper or fiber]. Why go to that trouble? Because telco's suck: the more switches you go through, the more you get charged. That model was legitimate 75+ years ago, when manual switchboard operators had to make connections [and get paid], but... ALL of that is automated these days. To put modern telco behavior in context, imagine if they managed property taxes - locals pay nearly nothing for the services they use, but neighboring communities pay through the nose because they have 'access'. That would cause either a revolt at the ballot box, or lead to a cost of living so absurd people would start living in mobile homes to avoid the charges. Nothing stimulates waste, fraud and abuse as much as a system that promotes something as "free". We need a new billing arrangement, and... it's not going to come from somebody inside the telco industry.

  • See.More||

    Quit calling this shit a prank. It's not a fucking prank. It's homicide by cop!

  • JoeGoins||

    How is it homicide by cop? Did the shithead know that the other guy would be killed? No.

  • Drake||

    DERRRR, I DUNNO, because it was a homicide committed by a cop?? Could that be it?! Why, yes it is, shitstain! DING DING DING!!!

    Did he *know*? As in, have ABSOLUTE PROOF? Uh, no, but it was easily predictable, shitstain, and he was probably hoping for it. I'd say that damns him right there. Oh, that's right, you trust cops. They AAAAALWAYS do the right thing, right? BWWAHAHAHAHAHA...

  • JoeGoins||

    Do you enjoy being rude and belligerent? Have I been that way toward you? Why are you acting that way toward me?

  • Vernon Depner||

    You were rude to me without provocation, so you must understand what motivates such behavior.

  • JoeGoins||

    What comment did I make that was "rude to [you] without provocation"?

  • Vernon Depner||

    "Why don't you go home to your momma's basement and leave the commenting to real men?"

  • retiredfire||

    JoeGoins,
    don't bother.
    The last thing these assholes can be expected to accept is a reasonable possibility.

  • Flinch||

    Actually, it's terrorism by telephone, and the caller can sit at the table next to the swat goon who pulled the trigger.

  • Deflator Mouse||

    In the bodycam footage linked by XM above, it's pretty clear that the officers very clearly told him to put his hands up and walk toward them. So the assumption of "unclear commands" is foreclosed.

    It's also clear that after this command, the guy in front of the house reaches down to his waistband and then extends his arms in front of him. As I stated above, in retrospect he was probably just adjusting his clothing, but it could also be interpreted as reaching for a gun and then pointing it at the officers. Keep in mind this happened at night and the officers were keeping distance due to the claim of explosives on the 911 call, so the snark about "they went straight to the well-worn 'The officer thought he was reaching for a weapon' defense even though we all know by now that he was just some random guy" is completely unjustified. Yeah, in the comfort of your home or office days later, you know he was a random guy. In the split second the cops had to decide, they didn't know this.

  • JoeGoins||

    I think issue that some people apparently have "unclear commands" has to do with the question of why should people have to comply if they don't know why they are being ordered around. However, the absolute wrong time to address that is in the moment.

  • Vernon Depner||

    The "issue" is that the idea that people unexpectedly confronted with a commotion of armed police officers yelling at them are capable of calmly following instructions exactly. We have abundant experience showing that idea is false. What we see is that people confronted in that way become bewildered and frightened and react reflexively, emotionally, and with confusion. Frequently police open fire on people in this condition without giving them time to understand and process what is being said to them. Often the instructions being bellowed at them can't be followed because they are contradictory. Police procedure based on the notion that citizens in these situations are capable of immediately and perfectly following instructions are not based in reality. Allowing police to act on this demonstrably false idea unreasonably puts citizens at risk. Police should be permitted to use deadly force only when they KNOW they are in immediate danger, just like any other citizen, and not when they merely SURMISE they MIGHT be in danger because a subject failed to obey them perfectly and instantly. Yes, holding them to that standard would put police officers at greater risk. Tough shit. Accepting that risk is an essential part of the job. If they don't like it, they need to find other careers.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I think the problem is that "failure to immediately comply with shouted conflicting commands at 3 am when you've been woken up after armed intruders have broken through your front door and shot your dog is punishable by death, sentence to be carried out immediately".

  • Mcgoo95||

    Bullshit. There was no mention of explosives in the call. The caller said he had poured gasoline in the house, which, according to the laws of physics is only explosive under pressure. He might've started a fire but the police were in no threat of an explosion and anybody with a high school degree would know that. Also, why should anybody know how to react when you are watching netflix and the 5th armored division of fuck-all Witchita Kansas rolls up on your lawn for no fucking reason whatsoever and demands you to put your hands up for no reason and then shoots you when you when you try to adjust your underwear at your own front door. Yea, your right the police didn't know any of this. But Andrew Finch also had no way of knowing how to act in front of a bunch of terrified police officers pointing their weapons at you. The officer should be charged with manslaughter at least, because that is precisely what it was.

  • Paloma||

    Charged with murder. The same as if anyone else had shot the victim. Until more cops are held accountable this line of BS will continue. And yes, if that means more cops are shot, then so be it. Better them than innocent citizens.

  • Deflator Mouse||

    They could probably get the caller on 47 USC 223.

    Whoever—
    (1) in interstate or foreign communications—
    [...]
    (C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to abuse, threaten, or harass any specific person;
    [...]
    shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
  • Tionico||

    Make tying to an emergency dispatch line felony perjury. Bar of proof the caller is lying should be pretty high, so as to not unnecessarily charge marginal cases. But this one... caller KNEW he was lying and had malicious intent to harm the intended target.
    And if any harm befall anyone because of false information given in such a call, the caller is criminally liable for the harm as if he'd perpetrated it himself directly. In this situation, the SWAT guys were the "weapon" this deranged caller brought to bear on the innocent man, now dead. He is dead by the hand of the cops just as if the caller had picked up a handgun and shot the guy himself.

    And the dispatch folks MUST be better trained to ask GOOD questions of callers to fill out enough details so the cops can verify first, and act appropriately. These stupid coppers are every bit as guilty of this man's murder as if they had initiated it themselves, not being cops. HOW MANY MORE TIMES will they fire first then make sure after its too late that they've read the situation wrongly? Guy comes out, no clue what's going on, stands there, probably cannot believe he is actually being accosted by armed coppers..... does not believe "this is happening to ME", "I'm innocent I have nothing to fear".

  • Mcgoo95||

    I agree with your second paragraph. In the first paragraph you are basically saying that the police can be wielded as an indiscriminate cudgel at the direction of any random person who chooses to do so because the police are not mentally competent enough to evaluate a threat? This is a ridiculous argument to make. Although I don't disagree with what you say to be true, I find the assertion completely ridiculous in a legal setting. If the police are that stupid and easily manipulated than we need to raise the bar on who should be allowed to be police officers. After all, we require doctors to spend nearly a decade and ~100k to become a doctor to potentially save a life. All you need is a high school diploma (?) to become a police officer and potentially take a life.

  • Art Gecko||

    Make police lying on reports or committing perjury a felony. Wait... it already is, yet it's so common that it's accepted policy; accepted by cops, prosecutors, judges, even tho the prosecutors and judges are the ones being lied to.

  • Flinch||

    Not only that Art, but lying is even sought out by police - almost solicited sometimes. Case in point, the Malibu man shot in his California home in an orchestrated act of attempted theft. Some "informant" had tossed out bad info on the man, and police latched on like a pit bull. They would have been just doing their job if they had stopped after the initial probe showed zero evidence of the man growing marijuana on his property. But no... an act of trespassing was promoted, which also yielded zero. Since the odds of californians NOT smoking dope in that part of the country was remote, they proceeded with one of those absurd no knock warrants where they whisper "police" at the doorknob so quietly only a dog might notice and smashed the door in. The home owner [being woken around 3am by the noise] grabbed his pistol and headed to the top of his stairs to deal with what he thought was a home invasion robbery. He was shot dead by the police, who after searching the place came up empty handed - and their dreams of seizing the property to buy a few vests and cars went up in smoke. That case was more outrageous than the story at hand, because the malfeasance was premeditated by a police department.
    The coin of most police work is a story told by somebody they have never met. Sometimes it even comes from superiors. When they don't proceed with caution, it seems their training is defective: caveat emptor applies to everything under the sun where humanity is involved.

  • jcfromnj||

    Perjury: it's almost the cornerstone of policing in the country today. I have FIRST HAND knowledge of this AND MORE of what to expect from law enforcement today. Went all the way to Federal Court and got an out of court settlement for False Arrest. The was SO MUCH evidence of Evidence Tampering, False Police Reports, Subornation of Perjury that my case was dismissed BEFORE I even got to Court by the local Prosecutor.

    http://www.nj.com/gloucester-c.....crack.html

    The circumstances around all this case are the RULE, AND NOT THE EXCEPTION where police interaction's are concerned.

    The article leaves out MUCH of what transpired. The local news outlets carry the water for the PD's, as they get their content from them for coverage for local matters.

  • Smokert5555||

    The problem from the police side of things is the police seem to think everybody is a crack shot. When you are part of a team, surrounding a guy and you all have your weapons drawn, it seems you can wait for an actual threat before you fire on the guy.

    You would also think the police would verify in some way what was reported was actually happening before responding with a SWAT unit.

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    The blue-coat goon squad needs to think long and hard about what they are doing cause this is what will lead to another Dallas. Or to starting a goddamn insurgency in our nation. Do we really want people blasting cops left and right in gang-land style drive-by's because the cops haven't figured out that you can only push people so far before they retaliate in kind?

    As it is, people are starting to say "Fuck answering the door if its the cops. I'll answer with a shotgun blast instead."

  • Drake||

    Yup, you nailed it. Any "war on cops' is gonna get ignited by a critical mass of rage with a bunch of people getting pissed off and just fucking losing it altogether. Some people just aren't gonna fuckin' care anymore and they're gonna go nuts and strike back. If things keep going this way that's what you're gonna get. Sad but true. *shrugs*

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    While The Free Thought Project tends to lay it on thick (though, no more thick than LEO defenders), this is the predictable consequence...

    http://thefreethoughtproject.c.....do-attack/

  • Art Gecko||

    The cop should get a much worse punishment than the guy who made the call. And the guy who made the call should be hanged.

  • Drake||

    +1

    I propose the Alex Murphy/Boddicker treatment, or, as I prefer to call it, the Full Murphy. If you've never seen the first Robocop, do so, or look up the scene on youtube. It speaks for itself... ;)

  • Gryph||

    There are only two parties to blame here too: Barriss and the idiot that provided, knowingly, a false address.
    I can't blame the officer.

  • Vernon Depner||

    So, do you think all of us should be allowed to blow people away because we think that maybe they might be a threat, and better safe than sorry, or should that privilege be restricted cops? Call me old-fashioned, but I've always thought that police officers should be held to a HIGHER standard than the rest of us when it comes to using firearms responsibly, not a lower one. I mean, isn't that the reason police are allowed to carry and use weapons in situations where the rest of us can't—because the weapons are presumed to be LESS dangerous in their hands?

  • Flinch||

    I had never heard of "swatting" before this story, but the notion that if something can be done somebody will do it holds true [sadly]. Personally, this soulless act is worse than a bomb threat and amounts to hijacking police to engage in an act of terrorism using known false information. Holding police accountable is one thing, but the loon that turned his phone into a weapon with his lying mouth needs to face manslaughter charges [not unlike a getaway driver might for a bank robber partner who pulled the trigger]. For those who think I might be out of line equating swatting with a bomb threat, remember two things: adrenaline is a helluva drug, and inconsistency is the hallmark of humanity. We have had quite a few high profile law enforcement screw ups over the decades to suggest that your odds vs. a swat team amped up is about as dangerous as being around a bomb when it goes off - you might not make it.

  • Longtobefree||

    Clearly we now need to require permits for both telephone calls and for video games; for the children.
    This tragedy could have been prevented if all callers had to get a permit, and there was a data base of evil callers.
    If all video gamers had to get a permit, that included a course on anger management and also a psych evaluation, things like this would never happen.
    DO SOMETHING!!!

  • joebanana||

    Easy to prosecute this cop for Constitutional rights violations. Amendments 4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and 14. Armed "police" violate the Constitution also.

  • Trainer||

    "moved his hands to his waistline..."

    Stan up straight. Start to slowly put your hands over your head. Stop about half of the way up and look to see where your hands are. The command to put your hands up is a death sentence in today's police environment. The minute you comply, you are reaching for your waist.

  • vek||

    I can see these things from both sides. A lot of the time the people who get shot had it coming because of their own bad actions when ordered to do stuff by cops. This guy DID NOT COMPLY with the cops orders, and reached towards his waist and paid the price.

    That said, cops shoot WAY too quickly. I think they need to be trained to accept a little more risk of being shot themselves in these situations. When they behave badly they do need to be punished more harshly too.

    All I know is I will almost certainly never be shot by the cops because I got learnt by my pappy to STFU and do exactly what the cops tell you. Hands on the wheel. No quick motions. Etc etc etc. It's all obvious shit, and 95% of the time when the cops shoot people it's because they weren't following the rules of "Suck up to and obey all commands given by The Masters" It's not fun to be a bitch to some roid head cop, but it beats being shot. Once you have established your a sane person and not a threat you can always be a littler more assertive, but in those initial moments you just don't do stupid shit or start lipping off.

  • Vernon Depner||

    There is abundant evidence that people confronted by surprise by police officers are not capable of following orders quickly and perfectly enough to avoid getting shot. Blaming the victims by saying they "had it coming" because they "did not comply" is not based in reality. The reality is that when unsuspecting people are suddenly confronted with officers pointing guns at them and screaming often contradictory instructions, they become frightened and bewildered and cannot be relied upon to react as ordered. In their confusion, their actions can be reflexive and thoughtless. If not given time to process what is going on, they can get shot. Your confidence that you will never be shot by cops is not supported by the facts of how people in that situation react in the real world. What we need to do to stop these tragedies is to take away the special privilege that cops enjoy to kill people for failing to immediately and perfectly obey them. They should be allowed to use deadly force only when they KNOW they are under attack, just like the rest of us, and they need to go to prison when they kill unarmed, unaggressive people, just like the rest of us. Yes, that will put them at greater risk. Accepting that risk is part of their job. If they don't like that, they need to find other careers. Allowing them to kill for lack of instant and perfect obedience, when decades of experience shows us that people they confront are often incapable of giving that, is unjust and unreasonable.

  • jcfromnj||

    Wishful thinking......Why was Andrew Finch under any authority to do any of what you say ? He was "guilty" of being understandably confused by the Death Squad at his door.

  • DFG||

    "...laws typically allow officers to shoot people when they "reasonably believe" they are in danger."

    When is it a reasonable belief? When the cop says it outloud. Case dismissed! If I try the same explanation in a fatal dispute? Nope, sorry. You overreacted. Guilty of manslaughter at best.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Police officers should have the same right of armed self-defense as anyone else. The same—not more.

    Remember the old days when cops used to plant guns on unarmed people they killed so they wouldn't be prosecuted? Now they don't need to bother. They only need say "I was scared" and it's OK.

  • CircuitGuy||

    It seems like the policy of using a militarized policing approach is partly to blame, not the individual officer or a citizen having his hands near his waist. Obviously most the blame lies with people calling in false reports to the police.

    The militarized approach may be safer for officers-- shoot at the first sign of a suspects having his hands near his waist. It seems to me approaching suspects in a less threatening way, possibly with less intimidating gear, possibly waiting until an officer who knows the neighborhood can call out to the suspect, would save citizen lives. It may put police in more danger. It may paradoxically save police lives, though, if more citizens see them as part of the neighborhoods keeping them safe. It is not a simple problem where the fault can be pinned on specific bad guys.

  • jcfromnj||

    How difficult would it have been to have the Chief just CALL the home telephone number and determine if there WAS IN FACT a hostage situation ? Sending tanks AND juiced up sociopaths to Murder and innocent man in front of his family ?
    The responsibility lies clearly on the shoulders of the Chief of Police. The legal theory of a Monnell Claim ( failure of the Police Department to properly train it's employee's} and a Wrongful Death Lawsuit would be a first step. The cop who panicked and went rouge should be off the force. Would you want to be next ? If the cop isn't brought to justice for the murder, the Police Department should be the focus of a Justice Department review.....

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