Friday, May 25, 2018

Charges in "Swatting" death

The gamer punks that caused a man's death by phoning in a fake 911 hostage situation call are facing federal charges:
Federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment against three men involved in the December death of a Kansas man, Andrew Finch. Finch was shot by police officers after one of the defendants, Tyler Barriss, made a call to 911 dispatchers about a completely made-up hostage situation at Finch's address. 
County prosecutors in Kansas have already charged Barriss with manslaughter. Now he faces a slew of additional charges at the federal level, including cyberstalking, making threats across state lines, wire fraud, and conspiracy. And while the county charges targeted Barriss alone, the feds are also charging two others involved in the incident. 
According to the indictment, Shane Gaskill, 19, and Casey Viner, 18, were playing Call of Duty: World War II on December 28, when they got into a dispute over events in the game. Viner became so upset that he asked Barriss—who had a reputation for making SWAT calls—to "swat" Gaskill. 
Gaskill wasn't impressed with Viner's threat. Gaskill allegedly told Barriss that he lived at 1033 McCormick in Wichita, daring Barriss to swat him. "Please try some shit. I'll be waiting," Gaskill wrote in an electronic message.
They all also face obstruction charges for deleting messages.  The officer who killed Finch will not face charges.

The "swatting" nonsense needs to stop, and the telecom industry is (slowly) working on technical solutions that seem like they will prevent it.  But in the meantime, police departments need to recognize that some of these 911 calls are punks in their Mom's basement and dial back the SWAT hoopla.


Gorges Smythe said...

And not a word will be said about psycho cops that play war with the population and shoot before they investigate.

Andrew Wetzel said...

What Gorges said. The actions of the police in not doing their due diligence in this case are bordering on criminal.

Yes, supposed emergency call was horrible and full of need for urgent action. But for the police to show up basically expecting to shoot, and not to de-escalate the situation, is the problem. Shooting is always the last recourse, and only if a direct threat is openly present.

The police do need to be held accountable for actual incidents of stupidity, rather than being held accountable for supposed incidents.

(Funny, in a not-so funny way, the tv show "Blue Bloods" covered swattings very well. How that rather conservative show exist on tv is something that I wonder about every day, okay, once in a while.)