Family of unarmed man shot, killed by police seeking $25 million in damages

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The family of an unarmed man who was fatally shot by Wichita police after a hoax emergency call is seeking $25 million in damages.

Finch was killed in December of 2017 after a prankster called 911 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at his home.

Police said the call was a hoax that stemmed from an argument concerning an online video game. Finch was not part of that argument or the game from which it escalated.

The Wichita police officer who shot and killed Finch, Justin Rapp, is also suing the city for more than $30,000 for breach of contract.

Finch's mother is scheduled to address the city council during public comment on Tuesday.

Eyewitness News Monday spoke with the family's attorney about the suit and where the $25 million figure comes from.

The lawsuit claims two officers are liable Finch's death, along with the City of Wichita. Those officers are Rapp and Sgt. Ben Jonker, the supervisor on scene the night Finch was shot.

We know police set up a perimeter around Finch's house when they arrived on the scene on the night of Dec. 28, 2017. The lawsuit says by the time Finch was on the porch, "Jonker had not established a plan for the WPD's response, or provided instructions to officers about how to handle the incident."

The lawsuit also says there was no designated person to communicate with Finch and that every officers was yelling before Finch was shot.

The lawsuit goes on to say the City of Wichita is liable for "WPD's customary use of excessive lethal force against civilians."

It says police "failed to plan an adequate police response to a critical incident."

The city's response to these claims says "Rapp's split-second decision was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances," and "Rapp's decision to shoot was not caused by any unconstitutional WPD practice regarding use of force."

The attorney for Finch's family says it's impossible to place a dollar amount on an innocent life and the $25 million figure is "based on the law."

The case is set to go to trial in September 2020.



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