Gee, we thought gaming was supposed to be, you know, fun . . . Call of Duty gaming community points to ‘swatting’ in deadly Wichita police shooting
Online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts that the shooting of a man Thursday night by Wichita police was the result of a “swatting” prank involving two gamers.
Swatting is an internet prank where someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime – often with killing or hostages involved – in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.
Yes, and needless to say, it’s incredibly dangerous. In this case, it may have resulted in the death of Andrew Finch of Wichita.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said Thursday night that police were looking into whether the call that led to the shooting was a prank.
Livingston said the department received a call that someone had an argument with their mother, that the father had been shot in the head and the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage.
“That was the information we were working off of,” he said.
Judging solely from the media reports of the incident, Finch apparently wasn’t armed at the time he was shot. That may have been due to the fact that he wasn’t involved in the dispute to begin with. The police were likely responding to a phony address given by one of the gamers involved in the online pissing match.
According to posts on Twitter, two gamers were arguing when one threatened to target the other with a swatting prank. The person who was the target of the swatting gave the other gamer a false address, which sent police to a nearby home instead of his own, according to Twitter posts. …
“A male came to the front door,” Livingston said. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
Livingston didn’t say if the man, who was 28, had a weapon when he came to the door, or what caused the officer to shoot the man. Police don’t think the man fired at officers, but the incident is still under investigation, he said. The man, who has not been identified by police, died at a local hospital.
Sounds like a SWAT officer with an itchy trigger finger.
One of the gamers allegedly ID’d as being involved in the dispute tweeted this non-denial denial via Twitter:
So an innocent man’s death appears to have been the result of a cascade of epic douchebaggery, unfathomable irresponsibility and a jumpy cop.
Understandably, most will focus on the “SWATting” angle here. But we should also be asking about police training, fear, and threat assessment. Regardless of what brought the SWAT team, a man who did nothing wrong was shot and killed in his own home. https://t.co/lK67nC7co1
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) December 29, 2017
That seems more than a little too dismissive of the culpability of the useless mass of protoplasm who phoned in the phony police report, resulting in the SWAT team’s deployment. It all starts there. And that’s where any prosecutions should be focused first.