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Wichita agrees to $5 million settlement in fatal shooting set off by hoax 'swatting' call to police

Justice for Andrew Finch Facebook

Finch was shot and killed by Wichita Police Officer Justin Rapp, who was among the law enforcement personnel responding to a false swatting call in 2017.

The City of Wichita has reached a $5 million settlement in a federal lawsuit involving the fatal police shooting of Andrew Finch during a fake emergency call.

Finch was shot and killed by Wichita Police Officer Justin Rapp, who was among the law enforcement personnel responding to a false swatting call in 2017. Finch's family sued Rapp in federal court.

City Council members approved the settlement Tuesday in a 6-1 vote. Jeff Blubaugh was the only vote against the settlement, which ended five years of litigation.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said during the vote he hopes that the settlement can help Finch’s family move forward.

“We know that there is nothing we can do … to bring a loved one back … from a situation such as this,” Whipple said. “But we do hope this brings closure.”

Council member Bryan Frye also said during the vote that the shooting should have never happened.

“No amount of money will ever bring back Andrew, but it's time to heal and it's time to put this past us,” he said.

The MacArthur Justice Center, which along with a team of law firms and other organizations helped file the suit, called the agreement “historic” and one of the largest settlements in the state of Kansas.

“This settlement is so important, not just because it provides long overdue justice for Andrew’s family but because it holds the city accountable for operating a violent and undisciplined police force,” MacArthur Justice Center Director and Attorney Alexa Van Brunt said in a news release.

“We hope Andrew’s case will lead to true change, finally, in the Wichita Police Department.”

Rapp shot and killed Finch while responding to a hoax call that didn’t involve Finch. It was later determined to be a case of swatting, when a person makes up a false report to get emergency responders to descend on an address as a practical joke.

But the gamers who made the call gave the wrong address for the person they were trying to target. Finch was killed on his front porch when he went outside to investigate why police were surrounding his house.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s officedid not file charges against Rapp, but a federal appeals court last year denied qualified immunity for Rapp, allowing the suit to move forward at the time.

The man who made the hoax call, Tyler Bariss, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Two other men involved in the incident also were charged in federal court.

Kylie Cameron (she/her) is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Before KMUW, Kylie was a digital producer at KWCH, and served as editor in chief of The Sunflower at Wichita State. You can follow her on Twitter @bykyliecameron.
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