- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita police officer who fatally shot an innocent man in 2017 while responding to a hoax emergency call stemming from a dispute between two online gamers is appealing a ruling allowing a lawsuit filed against him to move forward.

The Wichita Eagle reports that attorneys for Justin Rapp filed a notice of appeal Monday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, asking it to review a lower court order that refused to grant him protection from civil liability in Andrew Finch’s death.

The death of the 28-year-old drew national attention to “swatting,” a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities to descend on an address. The address the gamers used was old, leading police to Finch, who was not involved in the dispute or video game.

Rapp’s attorneys argued that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.

But U.S. District Judge John W. Broomes wrote last month that a “reasonable officer would have known that using deadly force when Finch displayed no weapon and made no overtly threatening movement was unlawful.”

The decision leaves it up to jurors in the civil case to decide whether Rapp’s actions were reasonable. Rapp is not charged criminally.

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