Civil Rights Attorney addresses Wichita city council: “These officers need to have better training”

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – People in Wichita are continuing to voice their concerns and ask questions surrounding a deadly officer-involved shooting and swatting incident last month.

The victim, 28-year-old Andrew Finch, was unarmed when he was killed by police outside a Wichita home.

Last week, three residents came out to speak to the Wichita City Council and vowed they, along with others, would be at Tuesday mornings meeting as well.

Today, twice the number of people came out to speak, including maybe the most well-known person to address the city so far, Civil Rights Attorney and congressional candidate James Thompson.

Thompson had strong words for the city council.

“The blood of Andrew Finch is on your hands just as much as it is the shooting officer and the idiot from California who made the phone call,” said Thompson.

Thompson was the most vocal out of the hand full of people who shared their thoughts about the Wichita Police Department.

All of the issues discussed by the concerned residents revolved around the deadly officer-involved shooting involving last month.

“So these officers need to have better training and better staff and we need to be hiring more officers, but we are not, that’s a problem, and it is because our officers aren’t receiving the proper training on how to de-escalate situations,” said Thompson.

KSN sent some of Thompson’s concerns to the police department.

Officer Charley Davidson says last year, the Wichita police command staff began to review the use of force training curriculum.

This year, officer Davidson says they will be receiving federally funded training through the Department of Justice, focused on tactics and de-escalation techniques.

He also says the department has purchased 18 less lethal weapons systems and training will start in February.

As for the investigation into last month’s deadly shooting, Wichita City Councilman James Clendenin says the council is going to let the investigation play out.

“I think the city of Wichita wants answers, the city council wants answers, everybody wants answers, we’re going to let this investigation play through, we are going to let the wheels of justice turn,” said Clendenin.

The WPD agrees they need more staff, saying a staffing study showed they need more officers and civilians to fill the department’s needs.

KSN asked those who spoke in front of the council Tuesday morning if they plan to be back next week to voice their thoughts and concerns again.

They say they will be, until they get some answers and see some changes going forward.

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