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No Charges for Wichita Officer Who Killed Innocent, Unarmed Man in 'Swatting'

It's considered "reasonable" for police to kill based on false information.

Wichita PoliceWichita Police body cameraA Kansas district attorney announced yesterday that a police officer who shot an unarmed man on his own porch will not face charges because the officer was operating under the impression that he was responding to a hostage situation.

The fatal shooting of Andrew Finch in Wichita, Kansas, drew national attention in December, as it appeared to be the first case of a "Swatting" call turning deadly. "Swatting" is a particularly nasty prank in which someone calls 911 and falsely claims to be involved in a dangerous hostage situation, drawing a SWAT raid to somebody else's home and terrifying the targets.

In this case, a Los Angeles man reportedly made the false call as a result of some video game dispute. Finch wasn't even involved in the dispute; the suspect, Tyler Barriss, was given Finch's address by the person he was arguing with. Barriss allegedly called 911 and claimed to have shot his own dad at Finch's address and to be holding a family hostage.

Police arrived armed and prepared for a hostage situation. According to Finch's family, Finch saw the police lights outside and—not realizing that his own home was their target—went out on the front porch to see what was happening. Ten seconds later he was shot and killed by police.

District Attorney Marc Bennett investigated the shooting. His conclusion:

The officer believed Mr. Finch was the suspect who had shot his own father and had been holding his younger brother and mother hostage. This officer perceived these movements by Mr. Finch and believed the subject that he was looking at, Mr. Finch, was reaching for the gun that he would have used to shoot his father moments earlier. The officer believed he saw a gun come up in Mr. Finch's hands. The officer stated that he discharged his weapon, thinking that Mr. Finch presented an imminent risk to the officers.

But Finch didn't have a gun, he wasn't an imminent risk, and there was no hostage situation. The police have been granted permission to shoot to kill on the basis of a prank call. The Wichita Eagle notes that because the officer isn't being charged, the police won't even release the cop's name. The family is suing in civil court as well, but the city (and the taxpayers) will be held accountable for a financial settlement, not the police department.

This is a terrible decision for a couple of reasons. First, it reinforces a culture in which officers are permitted to shoot and kill anybody on the basis of their own fears and to believe the worst in any encounter. This law enforcement culture puts all of us at risk in every encounter with police. If a completely harmless man can be shot on his own porch and police can say they thought he was reaching for a weapon, that's a terrible way to protect public safety.

And knowing that police can avoid responsibility for these shootings actually incentivizes "swatting" calls. If police knew they could face consequences for reacting rashly to such calls, they'd be more careful. If they're more careful, their responses to these calls won't cause the results the pranksters want.

Instead, there's a push to increase the penalties for making these swatting calls. Barriss faces manslaughter charges, and various people want to increase the punishment he faces for his role in making this happen. And perhaps he should face tougher penalties. But shielding the police from punishment also shields them from pressure to make changes that would make such shootings less likely. The goal shouldn't just be to punish swatters. Police have to change the way they approach these calls in the first place, in order to make sure there is actually a hostage situation happening. California lawmakers, for example, are considering a bill to change the threshold for police to be permitted to use deadly force; the law would require that there be an imminent threat with no other reasonable alternatives.

Photo Credit: Wichita Police body camera

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  • sarcasmic||

    The officer believed Mr. Finch was the suspect who had shot his own father and had been holding his younger brother and mother hostage. This officer perceived these movements by Mr. Finch and believed the subject that he was looking at, Mr. Finch, was reaching for the gun that he would have used to shoot his father moments earlier. The officer believed he saw a gun come up in Mr. Finch's hands. The officer stated that he discharged his weapon, thinking that Mr. Finch presented an imminent risk to the officers.

    The officer made a fictional report as he was trained to do in the Academy.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Yup. And the worst part about it is that he barely even needed to do that.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Hard to say. He may genuinely believe he saw a gun; adrenaline will do that to you. He didn't know this was a 'swatting'. The peole I blame are the idiot who thought getting a man's home swatted was a good idea, and the people who put the policies in place that had the cops going in gangbusters.

  • sarcasmic||

    Regardless of what actually happened, when there is a shooting the report will always say some variation of the same thing. Saw a gun. Aggressive movemens. Facing the officer. Feared for his life. Even if he saw a phone, person wasn't moving, and had their back to the officer. The report always says the same thing. Because they are trained to make a report that justifies their actions, truth be damned. So when I see one of these reports, I assume it is a bunch of bullshit because they are trained to lie.

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    Don't forget the ubiquitous phrase, "reaching in his waistband..."

  • Tony||

    So if you're a pig, the bigger the pussy you are and the dumber you are, the more likely it is you'll be able to get away with unjustified killing?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Calling police officers "pigs" is pretty offensive, Tony. Pigs are intelligent animals that are capable of real affection.

  • sarcasmic||

    And they taste good.

  • Tony||

    I wouldn't know, but I can only imagine what sublime flavor is imparted on meat by a constant supply of donuts and testosterone.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was talking about the animal that is intelligent and friendly, not the sociopath that failed its IQ test.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That too, but it didn't fit with the metaphorical construct.

  • Kivlor||

    I think we all knew this is how things would go down. "All procedures were followed." No culpability for the officer. We would seriously be better off with the Marines policing the streets at this point.

  • sarcasmic||

    Marines serve their country. Cops serve their department. Marines would show restraint and respect for those they serve and protect. Cops have no use for either because they only people they serve and protect are each other.

  • Shirley Knott||

    "Country" is just 'department' writ large.
    There's nothing special about marines or their 'service'. They're cops, working for a corrupt, and corrupting, department.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Knowing both Marines and cops, you couldn't be further from the truth.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Surely you can't be serious Shirley. Maybe just stupid.

  • sarcasmic||

    I see you've never known any Marines. They're good, honorable people. The opposite of cops.

  • Kivlor||

    I'd think a bigger factor is that Marines actually have strict rules about how to engage these kinds of situations, and any Marine that shot first and asked questions later when knocking on a civilian's door would face serious punishment.

    Another factor is likely that the Marines don't foster a culture of fear that "every moment might be your last and you must do whatever it takes to come home alive." We teach them that they are expected to serve with honor and courage in the face of the dangers they will be facing.

  • VinniUSMC||

  • μ Aggressor||

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yeah man, that ex-marine was a REAL hero, in my book... He had a REAL "sense of service to others", real humility, real common sense... Real willingness to risk himself for others. Kudos! I wish he could impart it to to other police persons! Instead, last I heard, he is driving a truck...

    Humility and a sense of real service to others... I have seen that in the military. Others do admittedly serve in the military for less noble motives, I have seen them as well. Glory hounds. Readers and admirers of "Soldier of Fortune" magazine. I am so old, I don't even know if that mag is still around, or not. "It takes all kinds", they say. More accurate is, "there are all kinds". I imagine that the same is true in police ranks...

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "He had a REAL "sense of service to others", real humility, real common sense..."

    And was fired, called a pussy and a coward by the other cops he worked with, and watched an unarmed homeless man get shot for all his honor, common sense and humility....

    Why would anyone want to be a cop?

  • ace_m82||

    Yes, I had many, many times in Haditha where the Iraqi got too close to the convoy, or didn't pay attention to the signals given, and I would have been well within the ROE to shoot them.

    OK, that one time I screamed at the guy really loud because I really didn't want to light him up with my 240G...

    But I never shot at anyone. Cause I didn't want to kill innocent folk. Even if meant I might die.

  • Kivlor||

    But I never shot at anyone. Cause I didn't want to kill innocent folk. Even if meant I might die.

    Because that's exactly what I said.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Kudos to you, Ace! Thanks for your service!

    Now if only our "leaders" would squander our services with more care and forethought...

  • colorblindkid||

    But it is true that this isn't exactly the individual officer's fault. It is the training, it is the law, it is the culture, it is the unions.

  • colorblindkid||

    They are trained to act in exactly this manner. When you tell a jury that, they will let the guy off. Focusing on individual cops and whether or not they were pussies or whether they were racist is just a distraction that doesn't solve anything and just lets politicians scream about the injustice without addressing the root problems.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's my thinking here.

    I actually do agree in this case, if the SWAT team was told to go in, shoot to kill, don't confirm, then this needs to be focused on the powers that be and how they do business. I might think the cop is a murderer, but it was him following orders.

    The sad thing is, that people will say "Well procedures were followed" and not consider that maybe, just maybe, the procedures are fucked.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    I don't disagree that it's the training that caused this, I don't think the fact that he was "following orders", IN AND OF ITSELF, is a defense.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    Adolph Eichmann disagrees!!

  • GamerFromJump||

    What the hell happened to getting "eyes on" first? Had they done that, they'd have seen people going about their lives.

    Of course, that doesn't stroke the old violenceboner.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Yeah, the while 'I was under orders and preforming as trained' defense.

    Color me surprised, as i naively thought that most humans on earth kind of agreed this wasn't a legitimate defense during Nuremberg.

    Of course this is different, afterall the Nazis killed people for no reason and without consequence, whereas here the police...

  • Kivlor||

    I'd sure hate to lay any blame for a man's actions at his own feet. That kind of individualism and self-ownership would be dangerous.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Bullshit.

    Culture is built from the bottom up. Every single cop is individually responsible for building and maintaining that culture.

  • Tony||

    Maybe if cops weren't so morbidly fat they could duck for cover every once in a while.

  • Ron||

    or just open their eyes and see if a person is armed or not. this shoot at anything attitude has to change maybe a class action suit by victims families to change not just the laws but how they are trained

  • sarcasmic||

    They are trained to have zero tolerance for disobedience, and to use deadly force whenever they feel threatened. As noted above, about the only thing that will get a cop fired is showing restraint.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I think they're trained to be fearful and mistrusting at all times of anyone not within the LEO family.

    Which is backed up with little to no consistent firearms training and zero training in handling high stress scenarios through deescalation.

    I mean if you took mall cops, gave them minimal training, allowed them to carry, give them the equivalent of police ability to use that force and then tell them repeatedly that every encounter might be their last, and the outcome would be similar.

    It's helps too that the baseline hiring requirements for police officer and mall cop are roughly the same.

    If this does happen at a private mall though, the mall cop would be in prison for a long time and the company, if it didn't have very high hiring standards and training and rules to prove they hired someone who can be trusted with this awesome responsibility and that their actions were in violation of training and rules, a jury would likely bankrupt them.

    A jury would almost certainly bankrupt them if their hiring standards and training were the same as local law enforcement. In fact, even if they gave more firearms training, without psychological tests, a very thorough and detailed background check,and without intensive training in handling high stress scenarios, a jury would bankrupt them.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Continued....

    Here's a good law: mandate very high hiring standards and intensive training spanning 12-18 months, in order to be allowed the right to carry a firearm as an LEO. Afterall, we allow them the right to use those firearms around children and seriously, Won't someone think of the children?!?!?

    Tangentially, another good law, a law to mandate much higher living and safety standards for any individual incarcerated. I don't mean extravagant, just pay what it costs to actually garuntee each prisoner a much higher level of safety, providing them all with with rehabilitation/vocational/academic classes which actually taught things and are consistently available, prison would likely cost more than treble what it does now. Add to that law something about fresh food and you'd bankrupt most prisons immediately.

    But I'm a dreamer.... a world in which we take our responsibility for prisoners seriously, while simultaneously expecting our LEO'S to be very highly trained in both the use, and more importantly, the non-use of a firearm is just too far fetched to comprehend.

    I once tried to imagined a world where not just DFS was held accountable for their decisions, but also educators were held accountable to teaching to objective and increasing standards. .., but I quickly blacked out.

    Not exactly sure what happened next, but I came to apt a week later south of the border, sans passport, but a new tat.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    The Wichita Eagle notes that because the officer isn't being charged, the police won't even release the cop's name.

    His name is Justin Rapp.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    If we had better gun restrictions this man would still be alive.

    /shouldn't be necessary sarcasm tag

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Why isn't there a national outrage about this. What the hell is wrong with people.

  • Citizen X - #6||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    People don't actually care that much about people killed by police.

  • Ben_||

    Outrage is fake in the US. If you see it on TV or in the news, it's fake (at least mostly). If you're not hearing anything about it at all, then it's possible there's a national outrage.

  • John||

    Nothing says reasonable like just shooting people in a hostage situation. The cop had no idea who anyone was. Even if it had been a real hostage situation, who is to say the guy he saw was the hostage taker and not the hostage? The cop had no way of knowing that. And he shot anyway. What the DA is saying here is that a SWAT team has a license to kill anyone they feel is a threat regardless of whether they actually do or not. I wish someone would ask the DA when under his view of the law a SWAT team member could ever be held criminally responsible for shooting someone? Hanging out of the van and murdering a pedestrian on the way to the call might do it. But I can't see many other situations that would.

  • Calidissident||

    Basically police have license to kill in any situation where they think someone might have a weapon. So pretty much anytime.

  • John||

    Pretty much. This paragraph is unbelievable.

    The officer believed Mr. Finch was the suspect who had shot his own father and had been holding his younger brother and mother hostage. This officer perceived these movements by Mr. Finch and believed the subject that he was looking at, Mr. Finch, was reaching for the gun that he would have used to shoot his father moments earlier. The officer believed he saw a gun come up in Mr. Finch's hands. The officer stated that he discharged his weapon, thinking that Mr. Finch presented an imminent risk to the officers.

    Notice that every statement describes the officer's subjective belief. Nowhere does the DA examine whether that belief was in any way reasonable. The DA is saying in so many words that as long as the officer thought the guy was a threat, the killing was justified. He doesn't even bother to put in the "reasonably believed" caveat. The DA doesn't even try to pretend this was reasonable. He just says "the cop thought the guy needed killing and that is enough."

  • Calidissident||

    That's a very telling quote, you're absolutely right. The word "believed" is used three times, "perceived" i used once, and "thinking" once. The DA apparently did no examination of what the chances were of any of these subjective beliefs being right, let alone in combination. Even if the situation was assumed to be real and that they had the right house, he had no reasonable grounds to assume Finch was the perp and not a hostage, or that he was about to shoot them. Only subjective fear and that seems to be enough.

  • Griffin3||

    As in: "I believed the police officer was a threat to me and my children, and therefore opened fire when I perceived the cop to be using deadly force against them."

    Is that how it works?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Sorry, hoss, that road only goes one way.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    And some people are trying to get us to believe only these guys are responsible enough to possess firearms.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Some animals, pigs specifically, are more equal than others.

  • Jerryskids||

    Notice too that it's "the" officer - it might be a better defense if the guy died in a hail of gunfire from every cop there, but apparently this particular officer was the only one that opened fire. So if his actions were reasonable, wouldn't this indicate that all the other cops who did not open fire were behaving unreasonably? But wouldn't it be more logical to assume that the majority of cops - the ones who didn't open fire - were in fact the ones acting reasonably and the odd man out the one acting unreasonably?

  • John||

    That is a good point. It just further shows how the DA considered the officer's subjective perception to be the only thing that matters.

  • sarcasmic||

    What a cop says he thinks or feels cannot be questioned. They have the public trust. They cannot tell a lie.

  • Gasman||

    Except in a country where possessing a weapon is an enshrined right, the very fact that a cop would kill someone lawfully exercising that right is a straight up constitutional violation.
    2A should mean a cop has less right to shoot you if you possess a gun.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Its now a matter of self-preservation for every officer to halucinate a gun in every situation...just in case.

  • commentguy||

    I would have a lot more respect for the NRA if they would actually stand up for the Second Amendment by doing something about police killing civilians. The right to bear arms rings a bit hollow if the police can shoot you any time because they think you have a gun. The NRA have enough clout to start a change, but I suspect they're too cozy with the Republicans and don't want to be associated with what is perceived as a Democratic cause.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Now i'm imagining SWAT cops going full-on , and it's not a pretty picture.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That should be "full-on Lone Biker of the Apocalypse." Jesus.

  • DetroitDumbGuy||

    This is exactly what I can't figure out. It seems like any would be hostages will be in more danger if the police are going to respond by shooting anyone they see upon arrival... How were these tactics going to help any hostages, had they existed?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Rescuing hostages is down the checklist, way below more important tasks such as going home safely, hurting or killing all possible perps, and executing any dogs on or near the premises.

  • John||

    The other infuriating thing about this is that whenever there is a mass shooting, the cops always say they couldn't go in and stop it because they were worried about shooting innocent people. Okay, but here we have what they thought was a hostage situation and they showed up and immediately started shooting people. It makes you think that perhaps they shot this guy because they knew he wasn't a threat. Had he been an actual threat, they would have retreated and done nothing like they do every single time during mass shooting events.

  • Sarcasmancer||

    So have you revised your opinion on whether civilians should be allowed to own body armor for their own protection?

  • Kivlor||

    I'm reconsidering my opinion on whether civilians should treat police departments as a hostile, occupying force.

  • John||

    There is nothing to revise. Of course, they can. The only question is what happens if the day ever comes that they develop body armor that can stop any bullet. That would be a hell of a problem because it would render no longer effective as a means of self-defense. But we are not there yet and may never get there.

  • Ben_||

    For the police, there's no reason to find out what's going on in any situation before opening fire. Knowing what's going on is actually a problem because "I didn't know, so I was afraid" is an unlimited defense for murdering innocent people.

    Show up and instantly open fire on whomever is there, the "I didn't know so I was afraid" defense is guaranteed to work.

  • Longtobefree||

    A long time ago, in a civilization far, far from ours - - - - -

    "Just the facts, ma'am"

    So the swatter should be up one murder one, and the cops, if they do not independently verify the facts, should be up on accessory charges. On the off chance the article has the facts right, remind me to never flee to the cops in a hostage situation.
    "Thank God you got here and saved me!". Bang. Bang.
    OOPS, well damn, your sudden appearance caused me to fear for my life. I'd be sorry but the union says that looks bad.

  • Ben_||

    That settles it then. Maintaining a police force is not worth the risk to public safety under current conditions. Time to shut them all down. Create a new public service corps with different rules to replace them.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    The more of these cases there are, the more it becomes reasonable to assume that anytime an officer approaches you it's because he's an imminent threat to your life, and so preemptively shooting the officer becomes a justifiable act of self defense.

    The roadblock is, of course, the courts. Because they'll say assuming an officer is a threat isn't reasonable no matter how many innocent people they kill.

  • Intelligent Mr Toad||

    OK, I can sort of see not prosecuting the cop. But the guy who called in the false hostage-report--the swatter--should be charged with felony-murder, and if swatting is not a felony, then a judge should invent a new thing called misdemeanor-murder and charge him with that, and if that cannot be done, then the swatter should be doxxed and the President and the Governor of his state should pre-emptively pardon whoever punishes the swatter independently, for any crimes associated with punishing him independently. As in, the President and Governor should announce "anyone may go torture the swatter to death and we will use executive clemency to make sure you don't face any charges for doing so".

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Bring back outlawry, i say. "Based on your actions, the court finds you no longer worthy of protection under the laws of this land. May God have mercy on your soul."

  • Violent Sociopath||

    I don't think you need to invent crimes. There's a species of homicide called depraved-heart murder that's applicable to fact patterns like this.

  • sarcasmic||

    Depraved indifference is a requirement for joining the police force.

  • Reformed Republican||

    "'Swatting' is a particularly nasty prank"

    Attempted murder is not a prank.

  • Just Say'n||

    BREAKING: Murder is now legal for some, because reasons

  • Cyto||

    A mistake is not murder. This one may not even rise to criminal negligence.

    The officer was sent to the scene under the instructions that there was a confessed killer who was holding hostages. He did not handle himself as well as one would hope. But he isn't the one who created the situation where a mistake would kill a man.

    Primary responsibility lies with the "prankster". Also highly responsible are the people who decided that shoot to kill at the drop of a hat was the proper way to handle things. Until that mentality and training are changed, this kind of "accident" will still be all too possible.

  • Cyto||

    It's considered "reasonable" for police to kill based on false information.

    This is just a silly canard.

    Nobody can act on information they don't have. That's impossible. You can only act on the information you do have.

    So if you are told that there is a dangerous killer in a clown costume at the corner of Church and Main, and you arrive to find a man in a clown costume gesturing at passers-by, you are going to act as if the clown is a killer, not a kid's birthday party novelty. If he points his clown horn at you as you get out of the car, you just might open fire.

    If someone lied to you and the guy in the clown suit was just a street performer busking for cash, you really can't be held to a "but the information was false" standard.

    That being said, there were a lot of things that could have been done better. Things that reveal the nature of police training and just where the hearts of the bureaucrats involved lie.

  • Ben_||

    Bullshit. You don't get to murder people because someone told you a story. Period.

  • Cyto||

    That's just a silly take. Nobody can operate on information they don't have.

    And in this case they had what they believed was the confession of an unhinged murderer who had just killed someone and was threatening to kill others.

    The guy on the spot handled it badly... but he didn't "murder people because someone told him a story."

    He may have panic-fired because he thought he was confronted by a killer with a gun moving aggressively toward him - which in reality was just some dude checking out the ruckus in his front yard. That's not the same thing. He was told by his superiors what was happening. He didn't make it up. He didn't take the call personally. So he had no context to judge anything. He was just called in to a hostage/murder situation. That is all he knows.

    He blew it. But this isn't even Daniel Shaver level of bad shooting. This is not even "guy sitting on porch holding a nozzle from a hose that looks like a gun". Those were "good shoots" in the eyes of the law. So this one isn't even close.

  • Cyto||

    The proximate cause was the "story" that police were told.

    But the bigger issue is the culture, training, tactics and mission of the police. They are trained to handle things in a way that are guaranteed to result in a couple of hundred unarmed people being killed every year. The police and politicians are OK with this because 50-70 police are killed every year. They want to keep that number as low as possible. That's where our mentality has to change.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    Fuck off, Cyto. The cop showed up, murdered an unarmed man WHOSE ROLE WAS COMPLETELY UNKNOWN IN THE SITUATION (could have been a hostage, hostage-taker, civilian walking by, neighbor), and then claimed that it was all in his mind (read his statement). Stop being a dick.

  • Ben_||

    That's exactly what happened. Someone told the police a story, police showed up and quickly shot the first guy they saw. Same as the Tamir Rice killing.

    Get told a story, show up, open fire on the people there. (Because of reckless indifference to all non-police lives.) THEN find out what's going on.

  • Calidissident||

    Swatting has been a thing for a while now, and police sometimes go to the wrong house for raids. These are known facts and cops should be aware of these possibilities in this sort of situation. Furthermore, he had no idea whether this guy was the alleged gunman, a hostage, or what not.

  • SQRLSY One||

    ""Swatting" is a particularly nasty prank in which someone calls 911 and falsely claims to be involved in a dangerous hostage situation, drawing a SWAT raid to somebody else's home and terrifying the targets." (From the article above).

    So how does this work? I hate my neighbor, 'cause I caught him staring at my favorite, dearly beloved pink plastic yard flamingo… With a YUUGE, raging hard-on, no less!!! I mean, that's what my neighbor had, not just me… It is a VERY attractive favorite, dearly beloved pink plastic yard flamingo!!!

    Well anyway, suffice it to say, I hate my neighbor!!!! … So now… Can I just report my hated neighbor, and anonymously report him for "suspected" kidnapping, terrorism, yada-yada, and the King's Men will come by and hold him at gunpoint for me? "Punishment is the process"", right? How many times can I do this, till I am investigated for false reports, and/or, my neighbor gets told, who is doing the rat-finking?

    Ah wanna know!!!!

  • Cyto||

    I don't see how they could bring charges in this case. Given the "knowledge" that he had at the time, his actions may not have been the most prudent course, but they also were not the cold-blooded murder that your article suggests.

    If we are going to send police out with guns to confront dangerous situations, they are going to make mistakes. That's the nature of human beings. We make mistakes.

    It was the job of the politicians and the bureaucrats to proved the training and regulatory environment that would minimize such mistakes. They have utterly failed on that point.

  • John||

    I agree it wasn't premeditated murder. But I think it raises to the level of depraved indifference. Just opening fire because you think the guy might be armed is in no way reasonable. He should have been charged with manslaughter.

  • Kivlor||

    This was my thought from the start. It's certainly not murder, but it seems like this would rise to the level of manslaughter.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Which is not what happened.

  • Gasman||

    "If we are going to send police out with guns to confront dangerous situations, they are going to make mistakes. That's the nature of human beings. We make mistakes."

    Policing needs to accept a few more dead cops in exchange for a few more alive innocent civilians. The cops know what they are signing up for, civilians not so much. would you volunteer to be a stand in for the dead guy? all well and good to shrug off someone else's death as a cost of civilization, but do you live in a neighborhood with trigger happy cops?

  • sarcasmic||

    Officer safety is number one. As noted above, about the only thing that can get a cop fired is showing restraint. Like that Marine who didn't shoot the guy with the unloaded weapon that wasn't aimed at anyone.

  • Cyto||

    This is a big problem. Since the 90's they have been teaching police officers SWAT battle tactics completely out of context. So things that are appropriate for "in the middle of storming a drug lord's stronghold where shots have already been fired at police" have moved over into every day policing.

    Like "shoot the dog". That was a small aside for "when you are under fire and a dog comes at you to attack." That has morphed in to "if you are uncomfortable with a dog or the homeowner just pisses you off" then you shoot the dog. Even if you are just serving a simple warrant... or maybe you just wanted to investigate something suspicious in the back yard.

    The same goes for shooting people. They have shown them so many videos of police getting shot at in seemingly nonthreatening scenarios and trained the with so many split-second decision moments that "furtive movement" is now the standard.

    This is why they cannot even discuss these shootings with civil libertarians. They can't even see the world from the point of view of the guy who was just checking out a noise on his back porch and is confronted by a bunch of screaming men with guns. In their world, if that guy turns to run, reaches for his phone, or just twiches - they are justified in opening fire.

  • Cyto||

    Which is why the #BLM movement has been so counterproductive. They are telling police and their supporters that the reason they shoot in that scenario is because they are racists.

    So they don't listen. Because they know that this is not true. This gives them a tool to dismiss all criticism - because the loudest voices are saying that their motivations are purely because of an evil heart. Many "fuck the police" libertarian types talk this way as well, destroying their credibility.

    And this gives the police and their supporters cover. Because they have reasons for seeing things the way they do. And it isn't because they are secret Klan members or sociopathic killers. The problem lies way above the guy wearing the uniform and holding the gun. It lies with the people who sent him in to an apartment on a no-knock 5:00am raid looking for drugs. It lies with the people who taught him that it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. It lies with the people who trained him to take control of every situation by being louder and more dominant and pointing a gun at a disturbed guy with a screw driver.

    Our "mission statement" for police is so screwed up, it is amazing that they manage to avoid shooting people as often as they do.

  • commentguy||

    Nobody expects cops to eliminate all mistakes. But it is criminal negligence, in my view, to rush into a situation without the facts or appropriate backup so that the only possible course of action is to start killing people. If this moron had received any training he would have held back, assessed the situation (for example looking to see whether the man was actually holding a weapon) and formulated a plan of action. Instead he went in hyped up on adrenaline and oblivious to the facts, so that when he saw any movement at all he panicked and started shooting. Sheer incompetence.

  • Cyto||

    You've put your finger on the problem.

    He did receive training. Training that told him to do pretty much exactly what he did.

    You see that scenario over and over in these shooting videos. Police close the distance on someone they think might be armed, and then they have to make a "split second" decision.

    This is really common in "disturbed individual" shootings. You'll see someone who has been reported to police as having mental illness holding a knife, screwdriver, whatever.. and the police will close the gap and surround him, yelling commands - often incoherently and contradictory. And then the shoot because they felt threatened.

    But it isn't just that they are incompetent. They have been trained to act this way... because they have been trained based on the heavily armed drug dealer who is just looking to kill police. All scenarios are based on eliminating that threat.

    That is why you see "use of force" experts saying that police who gun down unarmed and non-threatening people were perfectly justified. Because they are all living in a world where that is how you are trained to think and act.

    That is one of the big things that needs to change.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    If you kill someone just because you "think" he has a gun, say in some sort of road rage incident, you'll be charged with murder.

    Because citizens, and cops are citizens, that is they are (or are supposed to be) subject to civil law, can only kill in self-defense.

    The cop didn't have a reasonable claim of self-defense. Not even a whisper of a claim.

  • ||

    I'm commenting on Hit & Run in order to buy sex.

    Anybody got a problem with that? I'm asking you, FOSTA/SESTA!

  • ||

    I'm commenting on Hit & Run in order to buy sex.

    Anybody got a problem with that? I'm asking you, FOSTA/SESTA!

  • ||

    And what about you, Redundancy Police?

  • some guy||

    Even if we assume this cop made an honest mistake given the tense circumstances and what he knew at the moment of the raid, that's still a big mistake. Accidentally killing someone is pretty much the biggest mistake one can make. Shoudn't a mistake of that magnitude result in dismissal and a perma-ban from any other type of law enforcement? No? Shouldn't it at least result in him riding a desk for the rest of his career? No? Sigh...

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Accidentally killing someone is pretty much the biggest mistake one can make.

    The accident wasn't his fault in the slightest. There are plenty of "accidental killings" by non-cops that have been ruled self-defense as well.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Data is needed to compare outcomes. The perp should shoot himself. Only then will statisticians be able to assess which was the greater calamity.

  • Gasman||

    "A Kansas district attorney announced yesterday that a police officer who shot an unarmed man on his own porch will not face charges because the officer was operating under the impression that he was responding to a hostage situation."

    BS on this. Officer should not be shooting unarmed people on the front porch of what might be a hostage situation for the very reason that the unarmed person might be the hostage.

    Police need to accept a few more persona risks, and not just shoot anything that they can pin the phrase 'feared for my life' to. Out with the warrior cop. Screen and train new hires to be negotiators and conflict resolvers. Policing in more than just shooting 'bad guys'.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The people who denied accountability for this officer are no-good cop succors.

    And, I would expect to find, authoritarians and Republicans.

  • Ben_||

    Police kill with impunity and all you seem to care about is your petty red team vs. blue team nonsense. Humanity fail.

  • sarcasmic||

    I do find it somewhat interesting that those who claim to want less government are the to apologize for the cops, and those who want more government are the first to call them "pigs."

    I guess it's because conservatives want government to be their bad-ass daddy, while progressives want government to be their coddling mommy.

    Meanwhile libertarians just want government to treat adults like adults.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Even if this was an actual hostage situation, the police handled it horribly. You dont run up to the house 'you think is the right house' and shoot the 'first person you see', even though 'you have no idea what the suspect looks like'.

    How would like to have been one of the hostages who managed to get free and run out the door? BANG! Congratulations, you have been rescued by the police. Here is your bill. Have nice day.

    Statist idiots.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    That's not what happened. They set up a perimeter and, in the dim light, the guy came out the door and reached down to his pocket contrary to commands. He could easily have been reaching for a gun.

  • gaoxiaen||

    If you're a hostage and try to escape, well... http://www.startribune.com/man.....168131816/

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    It's considered "reasonable" for police to kill based on false information.

    Doesn't matter whether it's actually false, what matters is that they had no reason to believe it was false.

    If a guy points an unloaded gun at you, and you shoot him dead, that's legitimately self-defense. Even though your belief that he posed an imminent danger to your life was absolutely false, what matters is that you could not have known that the gun was unloaded.

  • Ben_||

    This guy didn't have a gun, and he didn't point anything at anyone. Depraved indifference to human life.

  • Tionico||

    Those making the false reports that lead to SWATTING need to face the same charges they would face if they had perpetrated the injury themselves directly. No way out. This man is DEAD because SOME PUNK lied to the police. The causal link is direct and inescapable.

    That said, the coppers DO need to develop protocols to ask questions first then shoot when that is the last resort. In this case, instead of snap firing on the guy, announce your presence, demand he stop moving, (clearly and understandably) and wait for the cop to take appropriate non-lethal action. To see the man on the porch and fire is WRONG. This is particulary wrong when an entire SWAT team are on site. Plenty of backup, covering fire, guarding, etc. Have one point man interact with the contact, and four covering. If Contactee DOES turn aggressive, the four guys covering him will assure the perp is well ventilated. Training needs to be more situatioinal istead of few hard and fast rules. Not every situation is the same.. nor the same threat level.

  • retiredfire||

    You see?
    REASON created the impression that they "saw the man on the porch and opened fire".
    As commented, earlier, by someone who did some research, the guy reached into his pocket contrary to commands.

    If anyone, out there, doesn't know that the best way to deal with police pointing guns at you is to hold your hands as far away from your body as possible, so that they are easily seen, then you risk getting shot.
    Police don't have to wait until they are shot at - that's too late. Don't give them the slightest excuse and you will walk away, every time.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Walk away every time?
    That's a laugh.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "California lawmakers, for example, are considering a bill to change the threshold for police to be permitted to use deadly force; the law would require that there be an imminent threat with no other reasonable alternatives."

    WHY THE FUCK IS THIS NOT ALREADY THE THRESHOLD?!?!?

  • retiredfire||

    It is.
    That was just politicians trying to sound like they are going to do something.

  • WillPaine||

    Mr. Shackford; for a clarity that I suspect will highly interest you, please see : Tennessee v Garner; 1985. Mike Cody is a cousin of mine, if you get that far. There are very concise rulings by the Supreme Court.

    Please read this case 471 U.S. 1 (1985)

  • H-daddy||

    Predictable outcome. Police can kill a person with no consequences. Joe Blow gets a fine for not wearing a seatbelt. Prison for smoking dope.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Ya can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Nor can you enforce meddlesome and idiotic laws without the necessary deadly force murdering a few clueless terrified voters now and then. The good news is that the victims are 30 times more likely to be the very DemoGOP idiots the Nixon-subsidized teevee stations told to vote for force-initiating looter parties than blameless libertarian voters! That's another advantage of clout-leveraged minority spoiler votes.

  • Benitacanova||

    The guy must have been asking for it since he was white. Everyone knows the cops only shoot innocent people if they're black.

  • Curly4||

    This may be common but until it is changed innocent people will continue to be killed. In the case of this "swatting" there should have been more than one officer sent and the officer should have taken a little longer to understand what the situation was. If there was discernible threat to another person then the officer could have responded to that threat but not until it is more obvious than just someone standing on the porch without a weapon. This is the reason that there so many people being shot. Yes I know sometimes the person who gets shot (by police) sometimes don't follow instructions but there are still not. If a little more time is given unless a weapon is produced before shooting starts the officer along with other officers could defuse the situation especially if the officers had a canister of incapacitating spray.

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