Crime & Courts

Internal investigation into fatal swatting shooting ongoing; Board requests data

Officer describes fatal shot in the ‘swatting’ case

Wichita police Officer Justin Rapp testifies Tuesday about firing the fatal shot. Rapp was testifying in the preliminary hearing for Tyler Barriss, who is charged in the death of Andrew Finch after he made a "swatting" call.
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Wichita police Officer Justin Rapp testifies Tuesday about firing the fatal shot. Rapp was testifying in the preliminary hearing for Tyler Barriss, who is charged in the death of Andrew Finch after he made a "swatting" call.

The internal investigation into a Wichita police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man on Dec. 28 is still ongoing, the Citizen Review Board learned Thursday .

Lt. Paul Duff gave the board a short update during their 4 p.m. meeting. Once the internal review is completed, its findings will be presented to the board, Duff said.

Officer Justin Rapp shot and killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch just after 6 p.m. on Dec 28. Officers were sent to 1033 W. McCormick regarding a reported homicide and hostage situation. Officers later learned the call was false and tied to “swatting." The report had allegedly been made by a man in Los Angeles.

Rapp will not be charged in the shooting, District Attorney Marc Bennett announced in April. The police department is doing its own internal investigation to determine if any policies were violated.

The man accused of making the fake call — Tyler Barriss, 25 — has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and is scheduled to appear in court again in June.

After the shooting, the city and Wichita Police Department declined to release Rapp’s name. State law and written city policy say the department can release the names of officers involved in shootings, but officials followed an unwritten rule that the names of officers are not released unless the officer is charged with a crime.

That didn't happen.

But Rapp was called to testify during Barriss' preliminary hearing on May 22 and confirmed that he fired the shot.

The review board on Thursday told Duff that they want to see what other departments across the country do as far as naming officers involved in shootings. They also requested clearance rates of officer-involved shootings in Wichita, and clearance rates of the national average. Specifically, they want to see comparisons of Wichita to cities of similar size and structure — not smaller cities.

Thursday was the second meeting of the Citizen's Review Board, which was officially formed in January.

The board can make recommendations that the department may or may not adopt, help with community outreach and education, look at racial and biased-based policing issues, review officer misconduct cases and suggest policy changes and look over internal investigation files, but with names of disciplined officers redacted.

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