Andrew Finch's mother testifies in support of 'swatting' bill

Published: Jan. 30, 2018 at 12:29 PM CST
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Update Tuesday, Feb. 13

A bill aimed at increasing penalties for people who make "swatting" calls had its first hearing Tuesday.

The bill was introduced after 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by police after a false 911 call sent officers to his home.

A number of people testified during the hearing, all in support of passing the bill.

Among those in Topeka to speak in support of the law was Andrew Finch's mother, Lisa. Lisa Finch says she doesn't want anyone else to go through what her family has been through.

"Passing this bill will save lives and families from having to deal with everything that goes along with what happened," Lisa Finch said. "It has changed our lives forever."

She addressed members of the Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Tuesday afternoon as a key proponent of House Bill 2581.

The bill would increase the penalties for those who knowingly make false emergency calls to illicit a response, especially from law enforcement.

While Lisa Finch says the bill is a step in the right directions, she would also like to see something done to address the way police responded to the call that led to her son's death.

"Although the caller is at fault, he's not the one who put the bullet in my son," she says.

With no one speaking against the bill, Representatives John Carmichael and John Whitmer--lawmakers who helped create the bill--are hopeful it will pass.

"I think this bill has a good chance of passage," Carmichael says. "There may be a couple of technical matters that at some point along the way may be amended in some fashion."

One amendment the Finch family would like to see is changing the name of the bill to have it named after Andrew. It's something Lisa Finch says would carry on her son's legacy.

"I want to thank you as a distraught and deeply saddened mother," she says. "This could have been your family member or your son."


Update Monday, Feb. 12:

Lisa Finch, the mother of a man fatally shot by a Wichita police officer in late December on a false emergency call, confirmed she will be in Topeka Tuesday as state legislators consider a bill that would"create the crime of making an unlawful request for emergency assistance,"

Representatives John Carmichael and John Whitmer introduced the the bill, HB 2581 in response to Andrew Finch's death.

Carmichael says the punishment for the crime, (making a 'swatting' call) would carry a prison sentence of 10 to 40 years if the all results in someone's death.

Lisa Finch, invited to Topeka by Whiter, is expected to request that the proposed legislation (HB 2581) be named after her son.


Original story from Jan. 30

Two Wichita representatives introduced a bill Tuesday to address "swatting" following a deadly shooting in Wichita in recent weeks.

Representative John Carmichael and Representative John Whitmer introduced HB 2581 Tuesday. The bill would, "create the crime of making an unlawful request for emergency assistance," according to Carmichael.

The bill, Carmichael said, would carry a penalty of 10 to 40 years in prison if the swatting call ends in a person's death.

While swatting isn't a new concept in the gaming community, a swatting incident led to the shooting death of Andrew Finch in Wichita. That incident appears to be the first deadly swatting call in the country.

Police said the man arrested in the case, Tyler Barriss, made a call from California falsely claiming he was inside a Wichita home and had killed his dad. He claimed he was holding others at gunpoint. When officers arrived at the home, Andrew Finch answered the door. Officers said Finch reached for his waist and an officer shot and killed him.

Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Nobody else is facing any charges at this point.