New lawsuit filed in swatting death of Wichita man

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WICHITA Kan. (KSNW) – Four Wichita police officers are named in a lawsuit filed by the family of Andrew Finch, the man who was shot and killed by Wichita police in a December 2017 swatting incident.

The lawsuit filed Monday by Lisa Finch, Andrew Finch’s mother, and Ali Abdelhadi, a friend who was at the home that night, claims unconstitutional seizure and seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

On Dec. 28, 2017, Wichita police responded to the home at 1033 West McCormick on a false call known as a swatting call. The caller, Tyler Barriss, claimed a man in the home had shot his father, was holding his mother at gunpoint, was going to burn down the house and commit suicide. Andrew Finch had been in the home and walked out to the front porch, where he was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer. The Finch family has filed a separate lawsuit against the City of Wichita and the officer Justin Rapp seeking $25 million in damages.

The latest lawsuit against four police officers reads: “Immediately after the shooting, Wichita police officers forced Plaintiff Lisa Finch, Plaintiff Ali Abdelhadi, and Andrew Finch’s niece and friend from the house in handcuffs, held them against their wills without appropriate clothing in 24-degree weather, and then transported them to the Wichita Police Department and interrogated them for over an hour before releasing them without explanation.”

The lawsuit names three officers and a sergeant. The lawsuit claims that although police were dispatched to a situation that may have involved someone in a mental health crisis and potentially a suicidal situation involving hostages, the police officers who surrounded the home were not Crisis Intervention Team Officers, were not specifically trained to deal with mentally ill individuals, and were not trained to deescalate a hostage situation.

The complaint alleges that the detention of Lisa Finch was “without just cause” and “violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be secure in her person against unreasonable seizure, and her right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The lawsuit lists the same allegations regarding the detention of Abdelhadi. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.

The City of Wichita typically does not comment on pending litigation.

Barriss, the California man who made the fake call to police, has been sentenced to 20 years in the case. Casey Viner has been sentenced to 15 months in prison in the case. Viner had been gaming online and recruited Barriss to make the fake call to police, over an online dispute over a game with a Wichita man, Shane Gaskill. Prosecutors said Gaskill used to live at the home where Andrew Finch was that night and gave that address to Barriss to make the fake call. Gaskill is charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and making false statements but is seeking a diversion agreement in the case. Finch had not been involved in any of the online gaming.

Officer Justin Rapp is also suing the City of Wichita, over breach of contract, arguing he was not allowed to work secondary security job for months after the shooting of Finch.

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