The first episode of Netflix’s ‘Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet’ titled ‘Death by SWAT’ focuses on a tragic case that led to the death of Andrew Finch. Apart from delving into the events that precipitated the incident, the episode also touches upon swatting, a dangerous phenomenon when someone makes a false 911 report to have the SWAT team descend upon an address. One such call led to Andrew’s death at the hands of a police officer, Justin Rapp. So, if you’re wondering what happened and where Justin might be today, here’s what we know.
Who is Justin Rapp?
On December 28, 2017, a 911 dispatcher in Wichita, Kansas, received a disturbing call. The man on the other end claimed to have shot his father and said he was holding his family hostage. After getting an address, the authorities rushed to the house and surrounded it. Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old living with his family inside, opened the door to find out what the commotion was all about. About 10 seconds later, a gunshot wound led to his death.
Investigation revealed there was nobody holding their family hostage. In fact, the call had come from California, with a man named Tyler Barriss faking the whole thing. The incident began with two gamers, Shane Gaskill and Casey Viner, losing a $1.50 wager online on a Call of Duty game. Casey, who died in-game due to Shane shooting him in a friendly fire incident, contacted Tyler, who was notorious for swatting. Shane eventually figured it out and provided Tyler with his old address, goading him to do something about it.
Therefore, Tyler made the 911 call and provided the address. However, it was Andrew, who had nothing to do with this, living there with his family. Justin Rapp, an officer who had been on the force since 2010, pulled the trigger on his firearm seconds after Andrew opened the door, leading to his death. After the authorities learned that the 911 call was a hoax, a controversial investigation ensued. Initially, as per the city’s policy, Justin’s name was not publicly revealed despite pressure from Andrew’s family.
Later on, it came to light that Justin was a US Army veteran and had been featured on the TV show ‘COPS.’ There were previous use of force complaints against him as well, according to the Netflix show. However, in April 2018, the district attorney confirmed that Justin wouldn’t be charged since he acted reasonably given what he knew at the time. Justin later testified that he saw Andrew move his right arm toward the police officers. So, fearing that Andrew could endanger their lives by opening fire, Justin pulled the trigger once, killing him.
Where is Justin Rapp Today?
Justin was immediately put on paid leave after the shooting and was moved to administrative duty. In October 2019, he sued the city for the loss of wages, saying he was not allowed to go back to regular duty or his second job until October 2018 despite being cleared by April 2018. Then, Andrew’s family claimed Justin violated Andrew’s Fourth Amendment rights, filing a lawsuit as a result.
In June 2020, a judge ruled Justin wouldn’t receive qualified immunity and added the lawsuit could continue. The lawsuit further talked about several other officer-related shooting incidents in Wichita, saying many of them resulted from unreasonable use of force. The family sued Justin for about $25 million. Since the incident, Justin has stayed away from public attention. He continued to work as a police officer for the city until he switched to work as an officer at a local university in Wichita. Apart from that, Justin has kept a low profile as the legal proceedings continue.
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