Three months after Andrew Finch was shot to death by Wichita police responding to a fake murder-hostage call, his mother spoke to the City Council for the first time, criticizing the police response and council members for not paying enough attention.
“The issue of my innocent son being shot through the screen door is not going away any time soon,” Lisa Finch said.
In a five-minute speech to the council, the maximum time allowed for public comments, she demanded a completely independent investigation of the events of Dec. 28 when police shot her son while they were responding to a bogus call perpetrated by online gamers.
She criticized council members for saying they didn’t want to take a position on dealing with the issue until a law enforcement investigation runs its course and the district attorney decides whether to file criminal charges against the officer who fired the fatal shot.
“How is it remotely justice when the wrongdoers are investigating themselves?” Finch said. “If this were an actual investigation, why hasn’t anyone come to talk to us (family witnesses)? How is it justice when no city official or politician is willing to hold (the officer who fired the shot) accountable?”
She tied her remarks to the council’s weekly ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag.
“You guys have the audacity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” she said. “Could you explain the purpose of this? God is one of the words of the pledge. How can you pledge to do anything about God at all if you’re not willing to come forward and do the right thing?”
Although it was Finch’s first time before the council, supporters of the family have been making public comments weekly. Finch criticized some council members for paying more attention to their council-desk computers and phones than they do to the speakers.
“Another few words at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance are ‘justice for all,’” she said. “Does that mean only those on your side are allowed justice?
“I have in no way seen justice for my son Andrew Finch. One way or another, you will eventually have to deal with this. Why not do the right thing and give justice to my son?”
Andrew Finch, 28, was killed on the threshold of the family home by a police officer during an incident of “swatting”– a hoax designed to provoke a special weapons and tactics (or SWAT) team response to a nonexistent incident.
A Los Angeles man, Tyler Barriss, 25, is accused of making the bogus call reporting a made-up murder and hostage situation that brought police to Finch’s door.
It apparently began with a dare spinning off a dispute over a $1.50 wager in an online game of Call of Duty. Finch wasn’t part of the game, but apparently, one of the gamers gave Finch’s address to the person who made the swatting call.
Finch said she’ll be back at the podium in a month if the situation hasn’t been dealt with to her satisfaction by then. Under council rules, members of the public are limited to speaking one time for five minutes every four weeks.