An Ohio teen who recruited a convicted serial “swatter” to fake a distress call that ended in the police shooting an innocent Kansas man in 2017 has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
“Swatting” is a dangerous hoax that involves making false claims to emergency responders about phony hostage situations or bomb threats, with the intention of prompting a heavily-armed police response to the location of the claimed incident.
The tragic swatting hoax that unfolded on the night of Dec. 28, 2017 began with a dispute over a $1.50 wager in an online game “Call of Duty” between Shane M. Gaskill, a 19-year-old Wichita, Kansas resident, and Casey S. Viner, 18, from the Cincinnati, OH area.
Viner wanted to get back at Gaskill in grudge over the Call of Duty match, and so enlisted the help of another man — Tyler R. Barriss — a serial swatter in California known by the alias “SWAuTistic” who’d bragged of swatting hundreds of schools and dozens of private residences.
Chat transcripts presented by prosecutors showed Viner and Barriss both saying if Gaskill isn’t scared of getting swatted, he should give up his home address. But the address that Gaskill gave Viner to pass on to Barriss no longer belonged to him and was occupied by a new tenant.
Barriss’s fatal call to 911 emergency operators in Wichita was relayed from a local, non-emergency line. Barriss falsely claimed he was at the address provided by Viner, that he’d just shot his father in the head, was holding his mom and sister at gunpoint, and was thinking about burning down the home with everyone inside.
Wichita police quickly responded to the fake hostage report and surrounded the address given by Gaskill. Seconds later, 28-year-old Andrew Finch exited his mom’s home and was killed by a single shot from a Wichita police officer. Finch, a father of two, had no party to the gamers’ dispute and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Swatting is not a prank, and it is no way to resolve disputes among gamers,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, said in a press statement. “Once again, I call upon gamers to self-police their community to ensure that the practice of swatting is ended once and for all.”
In chat records presented by prosecutors, Viner admitted to his role in the deadly swatting attack:
Defendant VINER: I literally said you’re gonna be swatted, and the guy who swatted him can easily say I convinced him or something when I said hey can you swat this guy and then gave him the address and he said yes and then said he’d do it for free because I said he doesn’t think anything will happen
Defendant VINER: How can I not worry when I googled what happens when you’re involved and it said a eu [sic] kid and a US person got 20 years in prison min
Defendant VINER: And he didn’t even give his address he gave a false address apparently
J.D.: You didn’t call the hoax in…
Defendant VINER: Does t [sic] even matter ?????? I was involved I asked him to do it in the first place
Defendant VINER: I gave him the address to do it, but then again so did the other guy he gave him the address to do it as well and said do it pull up etc
Barriss was sentenced earlier this year to 20 years in federal prison for his role in the fatal swatting attack.
Barriss also pleaded guilty to making hoax bomb threats in phone calls to the headquarters of the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. In addition, he made bomb threat and swatting calls from Los Angeles to emergency numbers in Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Massachusetts, Illinois, Utah, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Florida and Canada.
Prosecutors for the county that encompasses Wichita decided in April 2018 that the officer who fired the shot that killed Andrew Finch would not face charges, and would not be named because he wasn’t being charged with a crime.
Viner was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy and obstructing justice, the US attorney’s office for Kansas said. CNN reports that Gaskill has been placed on deferred prosecution.
Viner’s obstruction charge stems from attempts to erase records of his communications with Barriss and the Wichita gamer, McAllister’s office said. In addition to his prison sentence, Viner was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution and serve two years of supervised release.
From a Ars Technica article
“In April, the incarcerated Barriss briefly gained access to the Internet—and he took the opportunity to demonstrate that he had learned nothing from his time behind bars”
I take issue with the characterization of Finch “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He didn’t walk into a bank in the middle of a robbery. He was a guest in a private home. That’s not a wrong place to be.
No sympathy for Viner, Gaskill, or Barriss. They wanted some SWAT excitement, they got it. Finch paid the price.
Actually, none of them “paid the price”. They’re all alive.
It looked to me like they all got off easily, with very small consequences.
20 years in a federal prison doesn’t seem that small.
I believe John was referring to Viner who received 15 months–in which case I fully agree. That’s like if I were to call a hitman to murder someone and they actually did. If I only got 15 months in prison, that seems like a pretty unbalanced punishment.
We can only hope that karma catches up with them as there is rarely justice in the courts for victims, mostly fines just to feed the system.
“wrong place” probably refers to being the current occupant of house that was previously occupied by Gaskill.
It seems a backwards to suggest that Andrew Finch was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was at his mother’s home — homes are/should be a sanctuary. He had every right to be there. To suggest it was wrong to be there makes it sound like he was responsible, in part, for his own death.
Wrong place at the wrong time is simply an expression, it makes no attempt to judge. It means had he been in any other place at that time, or at that place at any other time and he would have been safe. An unfortunate case of bad timing.
Of course if he had not been there then perhaps his mother or other family member would have answered the door and would be the one dead.
Maybe for the pedantics that have never heard the expression, we should start a movement to change it to ‘an unlucky place at an unlucky time’.
15 months is not enough; hiring a service is merely a way of doing it, he should get 20 years.
And the officer who fires the shot should be punished too, or at least fired. Police who shoot first and ask questions later are a menace to society worse than not having any police. I don’t want them in my town if their ROE are going to be like that.
I couldn’t agree more. I honestly can’t believe it was only 15 months. Also, it really saddens me that the police officer got off with a slap on the wrist.
Absolutely right about the officer. Cops get lied to about crimes in progress daily. It’s part of their job, and fully their responsibility to control their itchy trigger fingers. Andrew Finch was murdered by a police officer, not by a 911 call from a lying 19 year old. It’s about time the parties of personal responsibility stopped defending murdering menacing police officers who won’t take responsibility for their own lethal actions against innocent people.
Both the swatters and the police officer were to blame. At least the officer was acting in the line of duty (though I agree he should have been punished). The swatters who set the incident in motion had ZERO excuse for their behavior. Punishing them is completely appropriate irrespective of whether a mistake was made afterward.
The boy who cried wolf applies in this situation. This is an extraordinarily heinous abuse of emergency services. The penalty for SWAT’ing should be equal to the penalty for other heinous crimes, such as; murder. There should be no statute of limitations and prison sentences should be extraordinarily long. Other laws for assault, property damage, and murder should be added on top of the SWAT’ing charge. Who the hell do these people think they are? God?
From the meager info that’s been made public, it sounds more like an institutional breakdown. All the officers on the scene at the time were not members of the SWAT team and were given zero info on what was going on.
The officer that fired the shot is certainly partly to blame, but the Wichita PD is mostly to blame for not having proper procedures/training/etc. in place to handle situations like this (especially real ones.)
My guess (hope) is that the Finch family files a big-a$$ civil suit against the PD. It won’t bring the guy back but hopefully it’ll be a wakeup call for the PD there to get their act together.
Did Gaskill also got time?
Let’s say he’s doing more time than you spent not READING this article (which mentions Gaskill’s punishment)
Thank you Phil,
I think you could have write “deferred prosecution” as an answer, since making fun of my reading skills is 1) takes longer to write 2) is the wrong answer to what I asked.
I mean yeah or you could just read the relatively brief article? Or CTRL+F Gaskill?
I tend to think some of these young offenders are way off mentally and wonder about their home life upbringing and parents. The policeman who shot the innocent person also begs the question what reason did he have to shoot, did he see a weapon, was he threatened or in danger, did this innocent party do anything out of the normal? In the United States there is a certain lunacy about shooting first and asking questions afterward and this does not reflect on the police officer or police force very well.
Canadians don’t seem to have as many alterations like this then we are 1/10 the population, we also tend to respect the laws and police it seems more than in the USA.
on point !!
I’m American, but having spent a reasonable amount of time in Canada, I believe that you are correct, the cultures of the two nations are different. The vibe in Canada was just more… relaxed. Even during rush hour, using the commuter trains in Vancouver and waiting inside the terminals just felt calmer and different than it does in the US.
It depends on where in America you are located. America is a big place and there is a wide gamut of “chill.” Even in my state, the difference between, say Dallas and San Antonio, or especially any given small rural town, is night and day.
Canada is also a big place, and Vancouver probably one of the less “chill” places compared to small town Canada. Compare any 2 similarly sized metro areas in Canada with one in the US and the difference is night and day. Canada overall, is far more chill than the US.
The weather is cooler in Canada, hence it is more chill :>)
Canucks fit their clothes better…most plausible explanation is your French speaking tailors.
“Canadians don’t seem to have as many alterations like this then we are 1/10 the population, we also tend to respect the laws and police it seems more than in the USA.”
I suspect the officer shot the man because he had been training for it his adult life, and this was his opportunity to kill someone and be a hero. But all he did was kill someone. He has place in the human race, same as the punks that sent them.
There have definitely been incidents of swatting in Canada. Including one this month .
Thankfully afaict the Canadian police don’t seem to have killed anyone.
What charges were issued for the police who pulled the trigger? What was his reason for the summary execution of an unarmed person walking out of a house?
There were no charges, as it says at the bottom of this post. Another article: https://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article208738719.html says that the officer shot when Finch appeared to pull up his pants, when he was told to raise both hands up.
Sad situation, I feel for the innocent loss. Was not needed and these guys probably thought nothing bad would happen. Goes to show even pranks can be taken too far.
Wasn’t he already sentenced to 20 years in March 2019?
Is this a new sentence or what?
That article is about Barriss, this one is about Viner…
No. This 15 mo sentence is for the man that had hired Barriss to do the act. Barriss was already sentences to 20 yrs.
Should have got 3 years if you ask me – but prison overcrowding might affect the judge’s sentencing decisions. When I was in college studying penology, the scientists claimed that actual punishment ends at 3 months, because the criminal acclimates to the situation. Personally I think that is because prison has stopped being a particularly bad place to live. I guess society is lucky he got the sentence he did – and in fact may be released sooner, knowing how things like that go.
Prisoners live in a cell, not even a tiny efficiency apartment. Prisoners are told when to do almost everything that they do. Their world ends at a perimeter topped with razor wire and covered 24/7 by semiautomatic firepower. An ‘ordinary’ crazy-violent person is nobody special in the slammer–because most of the inhabitants are crazy-violent, at least part of the time. No matter the ‘amenities,’ prison isn’t much fun.
Nobody is suggesting prison is “fun”. Only that after a bit of time, anyone can be acclimated to even the worst situations.
That is the resilience of the human brain.
There are many components of incarceration.
It makes total sense that the “Punishment” aspect is no longer effective after a certain amount of time, as JCitizen describes accurately.
Rehabilitation isn’t really happening most of the time in our system. Especially for the majority of criminals. Although a serial swatter may get some rehab here.
Deterrence is also only effective up to a certain point too. Prison sentences don’t really scare many people, especially for crimes with low probability of being caught. And swatting offenders don’t usually get caught, because it is rare that someone dies.
Prevention would certainly work here… as this crime isn’t going to happen from prison.
What most people here are actually discussing is the “Justice” component. Which is external to the actual defendant… it is what the victims and society deem to be “just”, regardless of whether it prevents, deters, or rehabilitates criminals.
We all want to live in a just society.
Prison’s best function is isolate people who can’t behave well enough or treat other people well enough from the general population who can behave well enough. Each jail or prison is a very small world.
That would be the “Prevention” component. Isolation from society would be another way to put it, yes.
Sometimes it is at odds with rehabilitation though.
But mostly, it is too binary. You’re either in prison or not. Parole doesn’t prevent, although it may deter. And “behaving well” is a huge spectrum. Breaking the speed limit should not incur prison time, but it still is a crime. Drug use is a controversial topic, but IMO, should not incur prison time either. Yet all sorts of people are in prison who should not be isolated in a small world with murderers… and many “badly behaving” people don’t go to prison (insert politician name).
Agree with some of the comments that the officer should be charged for murder. I understand officers have a very hard job, but you don’t shoot an unarmed man point-blank. If they had asked the man to get to the ground, I’m sure he would have complied. If anything, the man would have just been dazed and confused.
The teen should be thrown in jail, but the officer is in the wrong too. Officers are professionals and need to be trained to handle every and all situation like this with care.
“I tend to think some of these young offenders are way off mentally and wonder about their home life upbringing and parents.” Life is a video game. Always a reset, always a log-out log-in, no harm no foul. If you live in a fantasy world 18 hours/day, reality is a foreign concept.
While not condoning swatting the least bit I am getting tired of the focus on swatters. What is wrong here is not so much the swatters than the obscenity of a heavily militarized police that shoots first and asks questions next. How about reining in the insane proliferation of SWAT teams and SWAT actions? No SWAT teams, no swatters!
Very true. It may have been different ten years ago when SWATting was not so much of a thing, but now that it is becoming more common, officers need to take this into account.
This does not mean not responding to the location, but maybe they should have contacted the home owner over the phone (this information is available through DMV records) first?
I spent my time as a LEO, too many let the adrenaline decide for them.
I tend to believe that 15 months is too lenient. If I hired someone for murder, I’m just as guilty. And I don’t blame the policeman. Too often it is a weapon that the “perp” is going for. I can’t imagine the anguish that shooting an innocent cost him.
15 months is way too little punishment for this crime!
First, I’d like to mail Viner a gallon bucket of KY Jelly, hoping that he needs it. Even that isn’t sufficient punishment for the dirtbag.
But whining that the police shoot first is what idiots do. Remember the policeman ALSO has a wife and kids to go home to, and the less we are concerned with the policeman going home to his family, the more the police are going to protect themselves FIRST.
And the really important thing here, the part that doesn’t seem to get mentioned when having “the talk” with our kids, is that if someone is pointing a gun at you, and tells you to do something, DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE TOLD TO DO AND NOTHING MORE. Pulling up your pants (where a gun would be parked if you are carrying) is just ASKING to get shot.
I’m not making it Fitch’s fault. He’s the victim. But he’s also an IDIOT for thinking that pulling his pants up was more important than not getting shot. Being alive with your pants around you ankles beat being properly dressed and dead.
I don’t agree with that at all. Let’s just make a new law from your comment: 10 – 15 years for anyone that adjusts their waistline. At least the police officers are already ahead of the game with enforcing that law: shooting first without verifying.
Let’s look at the situation. A man pulls up his pants. An officer thinks that man was reaching for a gun and kills him. Of all of the other officers with their guns pointed at the man, why didn’t they pull the trigger as well?
Who’s to say that pulling his pants up isn’t a nervous tick? People have little things they do when they’re nervous or anxious. Touching their neck, looking down at the ground, scratching their head, etc. What better way for those ticks to come out than when you have a large group of armed police officers all pointing guns at your face…
By the same token, he could have heard “Put up your pants”, or “Pull up your pants”. We don’t know what he heard. What then? Regardless, neither one of those actions were crimes meriting the death penalty. So does this mean there is open season on hearing impaired individuals now whenever there is SWAT action?
You could be deaf as a post, and if someone is pointing a gun at you, anyone with two brain cells in close proximity should be able to figure out that moving is a BAD IDEA.
Of course we can now quibble, “What if he’s blind as well as deaf?” This can go on forever. I’m not justifying the shooting of an innocent man. But I’m wondering why the concept of not making any sudden moves and doing what the person with a gun tells you to do is never talked about.
The police are NOT MONSTERS. They don’t want to go home knowing they killed a man. But they do want to go home. If you have been told there’s an armed suspect, and a suspect comes out of the house, and you tell him to raise his hands, and instead of following your instructions, he grabs for his belt … the police officer doesn’t know you aren’t going to pull a gun and kill him. So he makes the choice for HIS family, and the safety of his community that he is sworn to protect, and shoots.
How many deaths have happened because someone thought arguing with the police was a good idea? If you choose to risk your life by ignoring what common sense tells you is a good idea … well, I’m not saying you deserve the death penalty for that, but at least the gene pool will be a little clearer afterwards.
But that is NOT what happened. The cops weren’t clearly visible to the victim as he opened the door.
They were surrounding the house, and behind cover. So from the victim’s perspective, it was all very confusing and not clear what should be done.
Everyone loves to play monday morning hindsight guru, as if they would respond perfectly in that situation. They have no concept of the fog.
Someone in the police department made a very bad call and, even if there is no prison time involved, there needs to be a meaningful consequence. Either the officer who fired the shot failed to comply with procedures (or orders) or the procedures (or orders) were defective. There is no other way a completely innocent person winds up dead.
The commenters who want to crucify the police officer are out of line. If this event had been real, and the information the police had received was real, then deadly force was certainly justified. The police officer had no way of knowing it was not real. To call him “trigger happy” is way out of line.
Wrong! Just Wrong! Police should be able to establish that a weapon and/or threat exists before summarily executing someone. The house was surrounded by multiple officers and none of the others saw the man as a threat and didn’t fire their weapons. One trigger-happy moron with a badge was all it took to end this guy’s life. They should all rot in prison, including the coward who pulled the trigger.
While I agree the swatters are the main drivers in this event, the officer who shot was COMPLETELY out of line. He was one of the officers furthest away from the house and the ONLY one to shoot. You definitely can blame an officer who overreacted, and he did. Defending every officer makes good officers more vulnerable due to the actions of bad cops.
Nonsense. ” The police officer had no way of knowing it was not real.”, you write. But he had no way of knowing that it was real either! Precisely because swatting is so frequent police should always act from a position of skepticism and not jump to conclusions.
Ever put in time in uniform? I have.
In this day and age where information is immediately available, there is no excuse for not getting all of the information first. With a setup like this (with lethal cover) less-lethal was more than available.
If you don’t know what lethal cover is, or its use with less-lethal, you are not knowledgable enough to be commenting.
Should the officer go to prison for murder? No.
Should this person get reprimanded/demoted/etc? Most likely.
Should this department revise their training? Absolutely.
Some of us have spent time with weapons and law enforcement and know the procedures. There is also precedent for levying charges against the officer. The situation would be wholly different if this was a 1-on-1 encounter versus a SWAT/overwhelming response.
“If you don’t know what lethal cover is, or its use with less-lethal, you are not knowledgable enough to be commenting.”
What a silly argument. It’s a fallacy to say that, since we didn’t experience something as you did, we can’t comment. Have you ever had a SWAT team come to your house and kill a loved one? Me neither. Yet you’re still commenting.
In my last comment I defended the police. However, I must agree with another commenter that we Americans need to demilitarize the police. The use of military gear and tactics is over reactionary in most cases where it is used. I have witnessed SWAT involved in a traffic stop or serving a non-violent arrest warrant. Those SWAT guys should only be let out of their cage in the most extreme circumstance.
No, the police need to fix their ROE. It is easier for an American police officer to legally shoot and kill an American citizen that it was for me to shoot and kill a suspected combatant in Iraq or Afghanistan. We literally afforded more protections against government violence in warzones than we do some of our own citizens. Cops can do better. They can start by not assuming everyone is Jason Borne. They tell each other that some rando can draw a weapon from their pants, aim it, and accurate fire it before they can pull a trigger on a weapon already aimed. What that cop did to that kid was manslaughter at the least if not 2nd degree murder.
Swatting is bad,
and must be punished.
But USA is the only country where swatting is extremely dangerous : most other countries around the world will pay attention before sending an armed team, the team itself will assess the situation, the officers will know that there are consequences when shooting unarmed bystanders. As a consequence, swatting is not nearly as successful anywhere in the world.
Which suggests that the main problem is the swat system itself. Those trigger-happy gangsters behave as dangerous killers looking for a whim of an excuse to hunt human beings. And the main reason for this behavior is : they will _never_ face any consequence ! They are completely immune ! They know it, they abuse it, and pleasure in life is killing for them.
That’s why this concentration of attention on the swatter is so insane : the main if not the _only_ objective is to claim : “no, the officers are completely innocent ! It’s all the fault of the swatter ! let’s only talk about the swatters from now on …”.
And unfortunately, it works. Thanks medias.
The vast majority of cops are honest and honorable people. However, too many are getting away with serious crimes. Too often their coworkers are defending them and even hiding the crimes for all kind of less than ethical reasons.
Cops in major cities are paid a lot of money because they are supposed to use their judgement and know when not to hurt civilians.
This individual has created a blog because he got arrested for taking photos of a public transit center. Now he collects quietly reported crimes committed by cops.
Again, what was the penalty given to the policeman who shot and killed an innocent person ?
In most law&justice countries, the policeman would at least have been punished for involuntary manslaugther, and put to jail, and lose his job, as well as any weapon permits.
But in th US, the crazy, unreliable people become policemen.
…and the cop that shot the innocent man, what happened to him?
He got his kill in. Went home ate dinner. Got rewarded with some paid vacation. Maybe had to take a sensitivity class to make the dept look good.
I have 5, pretty obvious points. Not everyone will agree, just putting it out there:
1. Validation: The fact that all police departments don’t have controls in place to validate that a 911 call is legitimate and actionable is a real problem. I have no insight on how to make this better, but Swatting will be a thing as long as there are no checks and balances.
2. Investigation: When a police officer kills someone, regardless of the circumstance, a rigorous, independent process (i.e. not run by the police, or the local DA, or the local anything) should be used to investigate.
3. Protected Class: Police officers are people and they will make mistakes. We should give police officers some leeway. But, that doesn’t excuse murder. We should not codify (i.e. make law) any privilege that would allow a police officer to kill an innocent individual or to otherwise take advantage of their position without consequence. This makes cops a protected class and that is not good.
4. Punishment: If a police officer has committed a crime, the police officer should feel the full weight of the law. Punishment should be determined by the law that we must all follow. If that means jail time, so be it.
5. Standards: Regardless of what caused an interaction between a civilian and a police officer, the police should be held to the same standard. Meaning that a swatting incident in a suburb on a white family and a domestic violence call in the inner-city on a black family that result in a death by cop should be investigated, prioritized, and prosecuted in the same way.
New generation is so sick, they go to any extent, Swatting the term can be new but getting police to someone door just spreading hoax is really bad.
Blame should not ever be so absolute. Yes, the majority of fault is on the malicious instigators. But some blame must be on the unintentionally negligent too.
Maybe not 1st degree, or even 2nd degree murder, but certainly manslaughter for the defendants, and may be a negligence charge or even accessory for the officer.
It may be an indirect argument… but it seems like having such a heavily armed society does contribute to the aggressive and trigger anxious policing that we are seeing.
Cops train as if everyone has a weapon… because anyone CAN have a weapon.
Guns in the US are just far too cheap… so no wonder they are everywhere. Criminals get them so cheap that cops can easily assume everyone is carrying. Law abiding citizens must then carry weapons to protect themselves from all the cheap weapons that criminals carry. And criminals carry more weapons to ensure they always have the advantage in committing crime. Ask a thug if they are worried that their victims are carrying… they aren’t, because they carry more.
This becomes a vicious cycle in which everyone is strapped and the streets become the wild west. The result is our current reality of gun violence and police over reaction.
The headline. How was the swatter “hired” if no funds were exchanged or promised?
The first sentence. The swatter had no prior convictions for swatting. His one conviction in 2016 was for a bomb threat, not swatting. Right?
Third paragraph. The shmuck was originally identified as 18 at the time of his arrest in May 2018. His COD colleague was 19 at that time. Are they still 18 and 19?
1. I’m regularly hired for computer work. Often I decide to “no charge” the job, because it was easy and I think it’s good for business. Once I decide not to charge was I not hired? Seriously?
“Tyler Rai Barriss…admitted to years of “swatting”. Nuff said. That he also convicted for a bomb threat doesn’t negate what he has already admitted. And in fact, strengthens the case.
1. Volunteers aren’t hired. Hiring is tied to compensation. https://thelawdictionary.org/hiring/
2. The swatter was an admitted serial swatter and he had been convicted of a bomb hoax, but he had not been, a “convicted serial ‘swatter'” when he caused police to cross paths with Mr. Finch. Read it again.
3. Yes, seriously. Either the ages reported here are incorrect or they were incorrect in the precious articles.
Not accepting monetary payment does not equal being a volunteer. One can be remunerated in a number of different ways. And just FYI, if you are caught giving drugs to someone (or perform most any illegal act at the behest of another) it can (and often is in the USA) be prosecuted the same as if money had exchanged hands.
The other two points seem rather trivial to comment on. Maybe a email to Mr Krebs suggestion he correct the possible slight errors in choice of words would be more appropriate. Seems to me, by posting it in the comments, you’re SNITCHING! I thought you were againt snitching. Or does that only apply for those reporting criminal acts. Crooks got to stick together, right?
You’re looking for a fight. Maybe another time.
In the United States if a law enforcement officer claims that he/she felt that his life or another person’s life was in danger, they almost always get a pass for a bad shooting. In this case, the claim is as spurious as they come. . . But district attorneys are on the same team as law enforcement so they rarely press charges in these cases. It’s very easy to sway a grand jury to go along with the DA’s recommendation to forgo charging an officer.
The tendency for cops to shoot first and ask questions later has become much more prevalent in recent years. In a few enlightened jurisdictions the legal justification for using deadly force has been changed to a much higher standard. The actual wording varies but it is being done because of the large number of “murders by cop.”
We can only hope that we will see more changes in the policies covering when and why a police officer is legally entitled to use deadly force. It would happen more quickly if we had a system of citizen commissions with legal oversight over law enforcement.
They all should have gotten 20 years, no parole.
That would probably be an effective deterrent.
Too bad that cop didn’t get in trouble. There is no rationalization for killing someone because “you thought” he was going for a gun. Their job is difficult, in part, because they actually have to wait to SEE the gun before firing–which might be too late. That’s how it works. Had this man been a different race we all know there would have been a different finding by the prosecutor. I hope this cop remembers that he shot an innocent man every day of his life. I hope it makes him hesitate the next time he thinks he needs to draw his weapon. I hope the family sues the PD in civil court for millions, and wins, but I won’t hold my breath.
They should have gotten the death penalty. They knew and intended that someone could be killed. This is no different than laying in wait with a gun and executing the victim by pulling the trigger.