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United States Crime

Gamers Behind Fatal 'SWAT' Call Now Face Life In Prison (wlwt.com) 270

An anonymous reader writes: 18-year-old Casey Viner, who instigated the 911 call which led to a fatal shooting in Wichita (hiring Tyler Barriss to perform the actual call), is in big trouble. "If convicted on the 10 counts he faces, Viner could spend almost the rest of his life in prison and pay a $1,000,000 fine," reports a local Cincinnati news site. Ironically, Viner's father is a corporal with the county sheriff's department.

The 19-year-old intended target for the SWAT attack had supplied a real address in Wichita for a house where he used to live. But in an eerie coincidence, ten days before the fatal shooting in Wichita, Cincinnati police had responded to a similar SWAT call which had sent them to a house where Viner used to live. The local police said "the facts and circumstances and the verbiage were very, very similar."

25-year-old Tyler Barriss also faces a life sentence for false information which resulted in a death -- as well as several local charges. And Thursday a federal grand jury also indicted Barriss "for a threat that caused an evacuation of a high-profile FCC hearing" into net neutrality regulations just two weeks before the fatal Wichita shooting, "and another threat eight days later that targeted FBI headquarters."

Barriss's lawyer insists that his client wasn't responsible for the Wichita death, blaming instead a "gung-ho, crazy cop."
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Gamers Behind Fatal 'SWAT' Call Now Face Life In Prison

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  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @01:37PM (#56678850)
    Good, now we just need to do something about swat teams busting in and shooting up the place when no one is armed or dangerous.
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2018 @01:45PM (#56678896)

      There was no busting in and shooting. They weren't even SWAT, just regular beat cops. They shot him on his porch from across the street from behind their patrol car.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0l6kwbglA4 [youtube.com]

      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @02:30PM (#56679098)

        Sounds pretty much like a bunch of homicidal cowards vastly overestimating their understanding of the situation. Just the people you do _not_ want to see armed under any circumstances.

        • Re: Great (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2018 @03:21PM (#56679316)

          Nah. You're living in a fascist totalitarian police state. And the cops just imitate TV shows, where they are always righteous, and going "by the book" (aka not breaking the law, terrorizing, torturing and murdering) is uncool. Like Jack Bauer in 24. Or basically every other US police/TLA/military show.

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            Nah. You're living in a fascist totalitarian police state. And the cops just imitate TV shows, where they are always righteous, and going "by the book" (aka not breaking the law, terrorizing, torturing and murdering) is uncool. Like Jack Bauer in 24. Or basically every other US police/TLA/military show.

            Which TV shows show ubiquitous civil assets forfeiture?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by execthis ( 537150 )

      Agreed. The caller nor the person who hired him killed that boy. The cops did. The cops should be the ones facing jail for life, as should all others who've committed similar atrocities (such as the horrendous one in Arizona where the guy was laying prostrate on the floor unarmed).

      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @02:39PM (#56679160) Journal
        That depends. Did the cop act on orders and according to procedure? Then you can't really fault him for acting the way he did. If he did violate procedures, then some punishment is definitely in order. In any case, it would be a good idea to review the applicable procedures.

        But all that doesn't get the caller or the one who hired him off the hook. It should be clear to both of them that SWATting is not a harmless prank but creates a volatile situation where death or serious harm are outcomes which are not at all unlikely. Since this case did result in a death, they deserve serious jail time.
        • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

          by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @04:37PM (#56679574) Journal

          That depends. Did the cop act on orders and according to procedure? Then you can't really fault him

          Yes you fucking can.

          "I vas just following orders" has not ever been an excuse. Likewise the whole "cops don't kill people people kill people" thing doesn't work because the cop can never be considered a mere tool with no agency. The cop is a person.

          But all that doesn't get the caller or the one who hired him off the hook.

          Agreed, the caller, knowing the possible outcome of his actions is equally guilts. That does not make the cop in question any less so. There is plenty of blame to go around.

          • by malkavian ( 9512 )

            Uhh.. You're comparing someone in a charged situation with adrenaline running high to someone who manipulates a situation into being like that coldly and with malice aforethought?

            The root cause of this is the ones that called the SWATting. Anything that arises from that is on their shoulders. When people get it through their thick skulls that playing with people's live for shits and giggles has massive repercussions, then perhaps the calls to SWAT will be valid calls, and the reactions that they have wil

            • Uhh.. You're comparing someone in a charged situation with adrenaline running high to someone who manipulates a situation into being like that coldly and with malice aforethought?

              Yep.

              It's worse in fact. The job of the police is to protect people from criminals, not gun down an unarmed innocent while safely hunkered down behind a good obstacle.

              The root cause of this is the ones that called the SWATting.

              No the root cause is that gung-ho cops with a god complex make swatting possible in the first place.

              Best a

              • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

                by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <apoc.famine@gmail . c om> on Saturday May 26, 2018 @07:31PM (#56680242) Journal

                I feel that the duty of cops is to protect and serve. I'm baffled why a cop being able to straight up murder someone because they're scared is a mark of honor and a good thing. It's fucking barbaric. It's neither protecting nor serving.

                I want cops to shoot second. And yes, more cops will get shot at if they shoot second. But at the same time, 0 innocent people will get shot by cops. These people didn't choose to stand in the line of fire as their job, while the cops did. A random dude (ffs you or me!) answering the doorbell shouldn't have to be expected to act in a specific way so that cops won't murder him. To say that he/she should have a telepathic link with cops to know what actions they might take which would get them murdered is fucking madness.

                Seems pretty reasonable to me that cops should get shot at while unarmed people should not get shot at by cops. If the cops don't want to get shot at, they can choose a different profession.

                I have never been a threat to anyone. If some group would kill me for living my life? That group is my enemy. And unfortunately, cops currently fit that description. I live in a city where a drunk white guy (and I occasionally represent that) was shot dead by cops while his neighbors tried to talk the cops down.

                To me, every cop that pulls the trigger who hasn't been attacked with a weapon (even fists/feet) that could cause injury/death is a straight up coward murderer, and should be put away for life. Nobody should die because some schmuck with a badge left his balls at home that day.

        • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rea1l1 ( 903073 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @05:37PM (#56679830) Journal

          "SWATting is not a harmless prank but creates a volatile situation where death or serious harm are outcomes which are not at all unlikely."

          This is a serious problem and should not be the case. SWATting SHOULD be nothing more than a prank, if only the United States Police Forces weren't more on guard and over reactive than deployed United States military forces.

          The police should have gone and checked out the situation carefully and comprehensively and noted that no danger to anyone at any point should occurred and that should've been the end of the ordeal.

          The police of the USA show a completed disregard for human life - who are we to hold more responsible, the trained adult government officers who shot an innocent man on bad information or the fucked up kids looking up to them and likewise learning to hold a disregard for human life?

          The kids aren't alright, but its the fault of the powers in charge promoting and protecting the US stasi. Would be nice to be a part of such a protected clique.

          • This is a serious problem and should not be the case. SWATting SHOULD be nothing more than a prank, if only the United States Police Forces weren't more on guard and over reactive than deployed United States military forces

            Even then, it should be considered a felony abuse of law enforcement resources, resulting in prison time on a first conviction. It is not harmless under any circumstances, and it should not be considered a mere "prank" by any reasonable person.

            When you know that this kind of situation can result, and you disregard the risk to do it anyway just because it amuses you, you take on a share of the blame. The SWATter is no less a murderer than the triggerman, or anyone else who uses an assassin to do his dirty wo

        • That depends. Did the cop act on orders and according to procedure? Then you can't really fault him for acting the way he did.

          Not only can't you (yes, yes I can) but he also wasn't acting on orders (no one told him to shoot) nor procedure — since there was no evidence of a threat, the procedure was not to shoot.

          And no, nobody is interested in the claim that a 911 call is evidence of a threat. It isn't. It's evidence of a phone call.

        • Did the cop act on orders and according to procedure?

          The procedure covering this literally leaves the entire situation to be interpreted and executed by the cop in question. Not only is the "I was following orders" a cop-out excuse that has historically been proven to not be a defence, but in this case the order was literally to decide for ones self.

          Stop making excuses for murderous trigger happy thugs.

      • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
        It doesn't have to be the fault of one party or the other, both the caller and the officer who shot should be in trouble.
    • Highly trained heavily geared up professionals should not have itchy trigger fingers and need to at least get professional consequences!

      People make mistakes on the job and big ones result in consequences including being fired. I'm not saying firing is required as an idiotic zero tolerance policy; especially when properly handled that employee may never make that mistake ever again. As a TEAM failure the whole team needs to feel the failure; more training and at least but a dock in PAY should be minimum. If

    • Calling the cops in the USA is like injecting a rabid dog with cocaine and releasing it in a busy public area.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @01:50PM (#56678918)

    These guys did the worst thing imaginable: they made law enforcement look bad.

    If anyone condemning the SWATters stops to take a breath, the public might have time to consider the danger lurking in their communities, waiting for a call to go shoot some people.

    It could be anyone, in any circumstance, at any time. There's nothing to prevent it happening to you or your family members. There's nothing to prevent the same people shooting more innocent people over and over, year after year. The shooters deny any responsibility for the shootings. They are accountable to no one.

    • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @03:04PM (#56679262)

      If anyone condemning the SWATters stops to take a breath, the public might have time to consider the danger lurking in their communities, waiting for a call to go shoot some people.

      This isn't an either/or situation. There is plenty of blame to go around. The 1 in 50 cop that fired the lethal shot when 95+% of his fellow officers had the sense to exercise some judgement. The serial Swatter who is just as guilty of murder for "pulling the trigger" on the loaded weapon that is the police force in this country.

      This is exactly why I support the complete disarmament of police in this country. Once people know that the police are disarmed, they will not feel the overwhelming need to carry firepower into every petty criminal act. This is not even a new concept, there are plenty of police forces around the world that have disarmed front line police, and we can see pretty clearly that those forces have much lower incidences of officer related shootings (Going both ways). Those police are safer and so are the communities they police. Any officer who cannot understand how policing is done without deadly force does not have the right mindset to protect anyone from anything.

      • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @04:24PM (#56679530)

        Ya, the inner city gangs and MS-13 will then have respect for law enforcement.

        • Ya, the inner city gangs and MS-13 will then have respect for law enforcement.

          MS-13 was created by US policy, both foreign and domestic. They would not even exist without our bullshit War On Some Drugs Which Do Not Produce Massive Profit For Big Pharma. The inner city gangs were created by abusing minorities, just like the historical gangs of New York were created by a general atmosphere of lawlessness. If law enforcement weren't used to support terrible policies outright designed to harm people in order to guarantee profits for some already massively rich bastards, people actually w

        • Ya, the inner city gangs and MS-13 will then have respect for law enforcement.

          Why don't other Western Democracies have these same level of problems?

  • 18-year-old Casey Viner, who instigated the 911 call which led to a fatal shooting in Wichita (hiring Tyler Barriss to perform the actual call), is in big trouble.

    Seems like guys named Tyler [wikipedia.org] are always doing other guys dirty work and getting them both into trouble.

  • Why not both? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vektuz ( 886618 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @01:55PM (#56678940)
    Its quite possible for more than one person involved in the incident to have been in the wrong. All these articles are kind of strange as they try to spin it as "its either completely the cops fault or completely the SWATcaller's fault." It aint so.
    • Re:Why not both? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @02:37PM (#56679140)

      First entirely sane posting, I think. The swatters did indeed try to inflict serious harm and accepted that there would be a killing. The cops did kill when there was zero need to and no good, solid evidence saying otherwise. I think a charge of voluntary manslaughter for both the shooter and the swatters would be pretty appropriate. The cops have to be held to a higher standard, of course, because they have training and special powers.

    • Re:Why not both? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @03:41PM (#56679398)

      Agreed.

      Swatting is like an auto-immune disease, of a nation instead of a person. The parts that are supposed to protect us (immune system/police system) have become so aggressive and powerful that they can be easily tricked into acting against us.

      When a person has an auto-immune disease, we treat them by both suppressing the immune system (bringing it back down to normal, safe levels) and by eliminating any foreign bodies that are triggering the response. When a nation has it, I think it is sensible to do the same - demilitarize the police force, improve training, make it so that fake police calls don't regularly end in dead innocents, but also go after the bad actors who are trying to take advantage of an over-aggressive police response.

    • its either completely the cops fault

      Huh? Who so far has completely blamed the cops? The only posts I see conclusively directed at the cops are rebuttals to posts which give the cops complete innocence and make no assessment at all to the nature of the SWATer.

  • fair judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2018 @01:56PM (#56678944)

    Regardless of what changes need to be done on the law enforcement side, this is the correct punishment for the swatters. What they did was completely uncalled for and shows a complete disrespect for other people.

    What if some other location had a real threat, but the swat team was on a wild goose chase? As a result, someone who needed help did not get it?

    Actions have consequences. They were asshats and now will be behind bars. The world is better off.

    --XYZZY--

    • "Regardless of what changes need to be done on the law enforcement side, this is the correct punishment for the swatters. What they did was completely uncalled for and shows a complete disrespect for other people."

      Do you know what else is completely uncalled for and shows a complete disrespect for other people? Your comment.

      Therefore you deserve paying life-time in prison and a million fine, right?

      Uh... nope. You know why? Because there's that thingie called "proportionality". In your case, calling you

  • Pitbull analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Saturday May 26, 2018 @02:24PM (#56679064)

    These guys sicced a pitbull (The police, geared up and anticipating an armed perp) on innocent victims.

    They deserve life sentences just as they would if they were responsible for a vicious dog attack.

    As for the cop? Most certainly he ALSO has culpability in this. Where that lies is more complicated. Militarizing our police is part of the problem, though... along with many other factors. A pit bull can't stop being a pit bull, though... a police officer can, however, stop being a police officer and putting people's lives in jeopardy by his gross negligence in handling a situation.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The problem with the police is that as it is now, they become ElCheapo contract killers and a danger to everyone. That is in no way acceptable. If you kill without very good reason, you must face the music. And this must even be more true for a cop, who has training and special powers and hence must be held to a higher standard. Instead, as it is now, they can be almost sure to walk away without even get sacked from what would be called murder by any sane person. That does contribute to the problem. If you

    • by SkOink ( 212592 )

      If a pitbull owner looses his dog on somebody and the dog kills them, the pitbull owner is liable yes. But the dog is also almost certainly euthanized.

    • These guys sicced a pitbull (The police, geared up and anticipating an armed perp) on innocent victims.

      Pit bulls aren't actually especially dangerous dogs, unless they are both bred and trained for fighting. Some are just more aggressive, hence the breeding; a small few are trained to fight, and that aggression is magnified. Why not call them Dobermans? They're the traditional dog to represent authority figures, and they were one of the other recent breeds which was maligned due to the popularity they were then "enjoying" as a guard and fighting dog.

      These bad cops are not deliberately bred to be violent raci

  • Barriss's lawyer insists that his client wasn't responsible for the Wichita death, blaming instead a "gung-ho, crazy cop."

    I'm not seeing why it's an either-or situation.

    Chuck 'em all in the same cell.

  • And throw away the room.

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