Call of Duty swatter slammed with 46 new charges on top of involuntary manslaughter

    
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Wired has a big piece out on the fresh charges now lodged against the chief defendants in the Call of Duty swatting incident from last year that led to an innocent man’s death.

As we’ve previously chronicled, California resident Tyler Barriss reportedly called Wichita police to detail a supposed murder/hostage/arson in progress back at the end of 2017, using the address of what he apparently believed was one Call of Duty player intended as the focus of the ensuing police harassment, as provided by another player and played out live on Twitter. The address used, however, was for an unrelated person, father of two Andrew Finch, who was subsequently shot and killed by police after opening his door. Barriss was charged with involuntary manslaughter. (The other two Call of Duty players involved pleaded not guilty to charges including counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice, which could lead to 20 years in prison apiece.)

Now, Barriss has been hit with a slew of additional charges. Federal prosecutors have accused him of 46 additional crimes, some as long ago as 2015. He’s accused of sending bomb threats to schools in five different states as well as an ABC news station, multiple additional swattings (some for hire), bank fraud, and violating a protective order his own grandmother had taken out. He’s also been indicted for issuing bomb threats to the FBI and FCC. The swatting manslaughter trial itself set for January.

How did Barriss get away with all that until now? An excellent question. As Wired points out, however, there is growing support for taking such internet crime seriously; as a result of this particular murder, the Kansas governor signed the Andrew T. Finch Act into law, raising the top penalty for swatting crimes to 41 years.

As for what happened to the police officer who shot and killed Finch following Barriss’ absurd SWAT call, the district attorney determined this past spring that multiple officers thought Finch was reaching for a gun, thereby justifying the sniper shots. (Finch was not reaching for a gun.) The victim’s family is apparently continuing to pursue its civil suit against the department that was used as a weapon in his murder. “Finch’s mother, Lisa, has directed the bulk of her ire at the Wichita Police Department, which she believes acted with extreme recklessness on the night of her son’s death,” Wired says. “She is suing the city and several of its police officers in federal court for violating Andrew’s civil rights.”

Catch up on the whole sorry story:

Source: Wired. Thanks, Starbuck.
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Robert Mann

Good. About time they started really taking this issue seriously. Too bad that it took an innocent man’s death, terrible police work, and a whole crap-ton of outrage to get it started.

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Utakata

This guy makes the MAGA bomber look like a gentleman. /bleh

(And I hope the victim’s mother wins!)

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_Windsong_

why the Hell does it take a fking Year to actually court this Guy? the 46 other Charges are totally silly, it just makes the Police look like total Idiots ontop of their obvious fuck up to Snipe this Guy for 0 Reasons.

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squid

How did Barriss get away with all that until now? An excellent question.

Internet crimes are a jurisdictional clusterfuck, so they just get ignored.

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Sorenthaz

Good. Dude sounds like one of those freaking closet psychopaths who think it’s funny to mess with the lives and well-being of others while hiding behind anonymity to try and dodge all responsibility for his actions. That’s one of the biggest issues with the Internet, is that on one hand yes we should have privacy and be able to speak our minds or such without worrying about being harassed in IRL, and anonymity is what lets us do that, BUT when people abuse anonymity to invade others’ privacy and harass them to the point where you’re literally putting them at mortal risk by calling SWATs on them as a ‘prank’ or scare tactic… it really does create a case for implementing systems that give some degree of accountability/tracing back to who does what.

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rafael12104

Barriss deserves it. All of it. I was of the opinion that the law and justice demand that Tyler is the example to solidify the new case law.

But now, after reading about everything else he has done? I believe this dude needs to be a permanent resident in a Fed Pen.

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Mr.McSleaz

In Canada we have a classification for Criminals called “Dangerous Offender”.
Very Few people get that classification because it allows for indefinite incarceration. Paul Bernardo is a dangerous offender & will never be allowed out of prison.
I too think this Tyler Barriss is clearly a danger to the public & needs permanent incarceration w/o the possibility of parole.

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rafael12104

Exactly.

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squid

Not gonna do the math on his charges, but I imagine that if he’s found guilty of everything—and they don’t let him plea it all down—he’ll die in prison.

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Utakata

Hopefully he won’t be swatting again for a very, very long time.

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Ozius X

They should bring back Poena cullei for this asshole..

Poena Cullei (from Latin ‘penalty of the sack’)[1] under Roman law was a type of death penalty imposed on a subject who had been found guilty of parricide. The punishment consisted of being sewn up in a leather sack, with an assortment of live animal including a dog, snake, monkey, and a chicken or rooster, and then being thrown into water.

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rafael12104

Ouch!

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Mr.McSleaz

Wow, that’s pretty creative, lol.

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_Windsong_

WTF did the Monkey do to deserve that

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Utakata

Just on the side though…I rather not be entertaining cruel and unusual punishments to this asshole once he’s convicted. It just brings us all down to his level for one. As this guy has been doing this Poena Cullei business internet style. It doesn’t say much about our society and us if we start doing the same. I’d rather let justice be served by simply removing this individual’s ability to re-offend for a long while. And hope he gets the message.

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Peregrine Falcon

Once again another jumpy, scared, cop kills a man who has his hands up and is trying to surrender.

Forget politics and everything else for a minute. Why do we tolerate cops killing unarmed civilians? We don’t tolerate it in our games because it’s evil. Straight up, the good guys don’t kill unarmed civilians.

If we allow it to go unpunished it’s only going to get worse. Is this how you want the cops to act when they knock on your door or pull you over for speeding? Is this how you want them to treat your children? Your grandchildren? It’s only going to get worse unless we make them dial it back.

This is why we write our senators and congressmen. Tell them that you’re tired of the cops being allowed to gun down unarmed civilians, the very people they’re sworn to protect.

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squid

It has a lot to do with cop/first responder worship post-9/11. Their lives/safety/wellbeing is sacred now, and any threat to that—even if it’s merely a perceived threat—demands a lethal response.

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Robert Mann

Actually, I think there is a reasonable standard to the officer being able to protect themselves (although this case certainly did not meet that standard). It is a relatively common occurrence, after all, that the police have somebody decide to try to kill them.

The key is that we all have these differences in perception of the issue, because we don’t have anything to promote a solid understanding between any of us (much less the citizenry and the law enforcement officers).

I’m also for hammering them hard when they go off like this, and do things that are not acceptable in the slightest. I require evidence for that, and all, because there’s so much outrage over stories and narratives that don’t end up matching what actually happened… but there’s also cases like this or Garner in NY that are just open and shut ‘That is not acceptable’ with the evidence.

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Robert Mann

This is one of those cases where I agree that the response of the police was just asinine. The officer in question should 100% be facing homicide charges with zero relief.

Simply put, this one was unacceptable. I disagree at times with the standards people have (having trained with force security in the military) but… I do agree with the issue of police needing to face punishment when they clearly do wrong.

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Bruno Brito

and violating a protective order his own grandmother had taken out.

WHAT THE F@#$

Btw, about the cop. Yeah. I want this dirtbag swatter arrested, but i still think the guy who pulled the trigger is also responsible.

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Mr.McSleaz

It’s stories like this that prove ALL officers are corrupt. They all LIE and say “he was reaching for a gun” to protect their Trigger Happy boys in blue.

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Sorenthaz

Does this really need to devolve into a “screw the police they’re all evil/corrupt” rally for the umpteenth time that this case is brought up?

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cursedseishi

People like having someone to blame directly. It’s an ugly situation all around, and putting it all on ‘bad cops’ helps simplify things to such a degree that there’s no need for nuance.

And speaking as someone who has terrible luck with police because of how I look and isn’t really a fan of them myself? It was a call where they understood lives to be potentially at risk, and that is the entire point of SWATing someone. You tell them the worst so they go in expecting it, and are armed as such. And from the original story and footage that I remember, they fired when he reached back and towards his pants.

There’s simply no ‘good’ ending to this affair though, and some people just don’t like that.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah and honestly I think it’s a miracle that we haven’t had more stories like this because of the nature of these ‘pranks’ that are clearly intended to mess with folks and potentially ruin them.

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Robert Mann

I agree, there’s a lot of misplaced rage against the police in general. There’s also a lack of understanding of their systems in the populace (which might help with the problem of shooting unarmed people who present themselves as a threat in part, although I don’t want that to be the only solution.)

It’s easy to hate when you have little understanding and much fear. It is easier to blame people, especially groups of people, rather than to take the merits and woes of any given event and analyze them.

I say all that, because I believe there are some points on each side. I just wish, like with so many other things, that people would stop taking extreme sides and instead look to work together for a better solution.

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starbuck1771

I recommend you watch the video before judging. He was told to keep his hands up.

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Robert Mann

It was plain as day that there were problems with the report. Agreed fully.

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Cypher

So um… what about the trigger happy cop that shot an unarmed man in his doorstep?
Ok, just read the article from April… seems fishy as hell!
“Multiple officers thought he was reaching for a gun”, and yet multiple officers did not open fire… do you smell that?
So there’s more than one incompetent officer on the force? Or blatant collusion?

Xijit
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Xijit

Ignore the officer with a sniper rifle behind the curtain! I am the great wizzard of swatting! All of the crimes were my fault! It does not matter that officers fucked up so badly that they didn’t even respond to the correct house! It was I! The swatter of everything! All the crimes belong to me!

… Guy is an asshole, and I wont shed a tear if they lock is ass up / use this as the catalyst to finally update the system that is so easily exploited, but all he really did was make a fraudulent crime report and wasted tax payer money.

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Cypher

My point exactly! Seems the PD are just relieved to have someone to blame for their f*ck up!

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Eamil

Swatting reports are typically made in such a way as to make the police believe someone with a gun is actively shooting or threatening to shoot (as opposed to a hostage situation) because it’s exactly the kind of report that leads to the cops bursting in on a crime scene in chaos because – they believe – they don’t have the time to make any preparations and the “shooter” isn’t open to negotiations.

That’s not to excuse what the officer did, but you don’t get to say “all this guy did was make a fraudulent crime report.” The report was made with the intent of creating a chaotic situation that any reasonable person should be aware could lead to someone’s death.

Since you seem to have missed the fact that it was the swatter who was given (and thus gave the police) the wrong address for his victim, I think it might help to actually be clear about who fucked up where as well.

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Robert Mann

The officers and dispatcher all noted that there were things that didn’t add up. The house was not in the condition described. The door was answered, which doesn’t fit the behavior described.

There’s a whole lot to indicate the police fucked up (even if the house address wasn’t on them).

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Robert Mann

The multiple officers thing merely shows the corruption around law enforcement and justice (and we certainly need to fix that). There’s a really bad culture of protection for cops there.

As to the incompetence, they were told the house was ‘doused in gasoline’. They showed up, and not one of them noted that they did not smell gasoline? There were other clues that the police themselves noted as ‘fishy’ with the report.

So either there was a great deal of incompetence involved, as well as the corruption here and now… or the people involved are just too stupid to do the job that needs done, and should be fired.

I often don’t agree with outrage (I usually find it doesn’t match the evidence), but this case was just nothing short of a completely fubar showing by the police.