$2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

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$2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by Valigarmander » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:44 am

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/po ... as-n833556
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police and the FBI are investigating whether an argument over an online game prompted a hoax call that led to a house where an officer shot and killed a Kansas man who apparently wasn't involved in the dispute.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston on Friday blamed a "prankster" who called 911 and made up a story about a shooting and kidnapping. He did not mention reports that an argument over online gaming was at the heart of the prank, although he said investigators had made good progress tracking online leads.

Police have not disclosed the name of the man who was killed Thursday evening, but relatives identified him as Andrew Finch, 28.

Livingston, speaking at a news conference, said the hoax call was a case of "swatting," in which a person makes up a false report to get a SWAT team to descend on an address.

"Due to the actions of a prankster we have an innocent victim," Livingston said. He said no one has been arrested in connection with the hoax.

Police played audio of the call to 911. A man said his father had been shot in the head. He said he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller, speaking with relative calm, said he poured gasoline inside the home "and I might just set it on fire."

Several officers arrived and surrounded the home, braced for a hostage situation. When Finch went to the door police told him to put his hands up and move slowly.

But Livingston said the man moved a hand toward the area of his waistband — a common place where guns are concealed. An officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital. Livingston said Finch was unarmed.

The officer, a seven-year veteran of the department, is on paid leave pending the investigation.

The Finch family on Friday allowed reporters inside their home. Lisa Finch told them her son was not a gamer.

"What gives the cops the right to open fire?" she asked. "That cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place."

Lisa Finch said the family was forced outside barefoot in freezing cold and handcuffed after the shooting. She said her granddaughter was forced to step over her dying uncle and that no guns were found in the home.

Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a "Call of Duty" game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments including one involving "Call of Duty."

"We woke this morning to horrible news about an innocent man losing his life," Shannon Gerritzen, a UMG vice president, said in an email to The Associated Press. "Our hearts go out to his loved ones. We are doing everything we can to assist the authorities in this matter." She declined to disclose other details.
I've always wondered whether the people who do this kind of thing really think it's just a fun little prank, or if they're fully aware it can lead to someone's death.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:55 am

I think it depends on the person, some probably just want to invoke scares, others likely know the possible consequences. Pranksters aside, the more pressing issue here is law enforcement's trigger happy ways and reluctance to ensure accurate information before taking drastic steps. Just how many people have to die to the old song of "the man moved a hand toward the area of his waistband" exactly?

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by Random User » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:18 am

^Well, ensuring accurate information won't help when a real scenario takes place and everyone's killed while they were double-checking.

As always, I'm curious for more information or even a video of the case. Not sure how to judge the police's actions until then. It sounds like the person SWATing hit the wrong address, though.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:29 am

^ Double-checking implies they made any attempt to validate the information in the first place, and still doesn't mean they can shoot people without any indication of a threat toward them. I'd say it's pretty easy to judge their actions.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by Random User » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:19 pm

^I would enjoy hearing your idea on how to go about a speedy validation process other than showing up to the location armed and ready in case something happens.

If it looked like he was reaching for his waistband, then usually I will say it was probably a justified response to shoot first. Cops that don't shoot first will risk getting shot and killed, and it's a reasonable thing to expect given they are entering a situation where they assume an armed individual is willing to kill people. It makes more sense to expect individuals to not, you know, give police fake calls over losing in a video game. I hope the caller enjoys living with that guilt.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:23 pm

Random User wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:19 pm
^I would enjoy hearing your idea on how to go about a speedy validation process other than showing up to the location armed and ready in case something happens.
I said that they should be better informed before taking drastic steps, not that they shouldn't show up at all. Unless they see a weapon they shouldn't ever consider shooting someone, and even if they see a weapon it isn't totally justified to take a lethal shot if they aren't holding nor even reaching for it. I think most everyone is tired of these supposedly "spooked" cops shooting everyone. They shouldn't be there unless they're willing to risk their lives, not shoot first and ask questions later.
Random User wrote:If it looked like he was reaching for his waistband, then usually I will say it was probably a justified response to shoot first. Cops that don't shoot first will risk getting shot and killed, and it's a reasonable thing to expect given they are entering a situation where they assume an armed individual is willing to kill people. It makes more sense to expect individuals to not, you know, give police fake calls over losing in a video game. I hope the caller enjoys living with that guilt.
Unless they're mind readers they shouldn't assume someone is reaching for a gun unless they see it or have good reason to believe the suspect is armed, presuming they're even telling the truth in the first place. And it's very accurate that you use the word "assume" here; they did indeed enter a situation where they assumed a lot of things.

Also, false police reports and pranks are certainly a thing, there's no reason it shouldn't be taken into consideration. And again, I'm not saying they shouldn't show up, just that they shouldn't kill people when they simply don't have a good enough reason to. Maybe you buy their tired old excuses about reaching for weapons which often turn out not to even exist, but I don't.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by Random User » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:54 pm

I REALLY HATE POKEMON! wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:23 pm
I said that they should be better informed before taking drastic steps, not that they shouldn't show up at all. Unless they see a weapon they shouldn't ever consider shooting someone, and even if they see a weapon it isn't totally justified to take a lethal shot if they aren't holding nor even reaching for it. I think most everyone is tired of these supposedly "spooked" cops shooting everyone. They shouldn't be there unless they're willing to risk their lives, not shoot first and ask questions later.
I find that a lot of people in America overestimate the prestige of law enforcement officers. They are, in a lot of cases, inexperienced and don't fully know what they're doing. In some cases officers don't even receive proper training at an academy before being employed. I think that is why a lot of cops will shoot first. They are often scared for their life. With no formal training, it's a natural response. Situations can be tense.

Anyways, this situation is different from that, we're talking about SWAT. SWAT is there for specifically high-risk situations, so it's obvious they felt there was a lot at stake in this particular situation.
Unless they're mind readers they shouldn't assume someone is reaching for a gun unless they see it or have good reason to believe the suspect is armed, presuming they're even telling the truth in the first place. And it's very accurate that you use the word "assume" here; they did indeed enter a situation where they assumed a lot of things.

Also, false police reports and pranks are certainly a thing, there's no reason it shouldn't be taken into consideration. And again, I'm not saying they shouldn't show up, just that they shouldn't kill people when they simply don't have a good enough reason to. Maybe you buy their tired old excuses about reaching for weapons which often turn out not to even exist, but I don't.
Drawing back to the assumption that has been made - that it is a high-risk situation - would you prefer the assumption of the opposite? If something is deemed low-risk it will intrinsically be low-priority. Quick responses require assumptions to be made, particularly in potentially dangerous scenarios like this. That's why I'm not sure how to judge the situation right away. I won't outright defend the decision to shoot the man, but most human beings don't enjoy killing people for no reason.

The only way I could see something happening to change this is phone companies instantaneously giving information of a phone's GPS to police to track where the caller called from, but I'm sure by the time the information could be sent that the SWAT team would be at their destination already. Barring the fact that that is quite an intrusive method that could open the doors for abusing the right to people's phone information.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I am nobody » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:38 pm

I don't know how much you could do with the caller's location data, really. It's obviously more likely to be true if the caller is nearby, but someone malicious could always just say they were contacted by someone at the scene or turn off/spoof their location data. It might make it harder, but it wouldn't be foolproof.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by glux » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:20 pm

Death or no death, can we start legitimately throwing swatters in jail yet?

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:30 pm

^ I'm sure his actions can fall under involuntary manslaughter, so I don't see why not. There's almost certainly laws about false police reports and stuff too.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by glux » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:46 pm

^ This is the first I've heard (if I'm not mistaken) of a swatter actually getting caught/arrested, so hopefully it'll teach others a much needed lesson.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I am nobody » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:28 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatting

Apparently a few have been caught before now and have been punished pretty severely. There's a federal law that sets a penalty of up to 10 years, some states have fines up to $150k, and they tend to throw a number of other felonies at you that can each add a few years. So you definitely go to prison.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:34 pm

^ Is that with or without deaths and/or injuries?

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I am nobody » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:37 pm

^Good point. All of what I mentioned was just for making the call, so presumably you get even more time for something like this.

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:18 pm

Pretty harsh "just" for swatting in general though, I gotta say. Although it does put people at risk so maybe not...

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Re: $2 wager on Call of Duty leads to deadly SWATing

Post by Cravdraa » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:15 am

Yeah, not getting my sympathy.
Not only does it have the potential to get innocent people killed, but in most cases it's not some idiot trying to pull a prank but somebody outright trying to use the police for terrorism. Most cases I've seen have been part of harassment campaigns specifically targeting somebody.

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