Because police and emergency responders don’t have enough trauma and urgency to deal with a daily basis, “pranksters” in Los Angeles have come up with a brand new way to divert police resources, waste taxpayers’ money, and stress the already burdened 911 system in the name of fake emergencies called “swatting.”
Latest victim? None other than slit-eyed, teeth-grinding, chair-addressing Clint Eastwood. See that look on his face? Clint Eastwood doesn’t abide by stupid street punks wreaking havoc for no good reason.
But some version of stupid street punk seems to be behind the string of disruptive and dangerous pranks. “Swatting” is when an anonymous call is made to 911 to report an emergency, one that typically involves armed assailants and extreme situations; when police arrive, it’s discovered that nothing is happening and, often, no one is even there. The name “swatting” originated from the fact that sometimes these “emergencies” have triggered the deployment of entire SWAT teams to the location. Obviously an abuse of the system, swatting is a felony or misdemeanor in most states. (Source)
Of course, in Los Angeles, the incidents of swatting are often related to celebrities. TMZ reports on this most recent one with Mr. Eastwood:
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, multiple units rushed to Eastwood’s L.A. home this week after a relay service called 911 … reporting multiple males armed with assault weapons inside the actor’s house and people had been shot.
When the officers arrived at the scene, we’re told they found nothing wrong … the standard “swatting” scenario.
Police were unable to determine if anyone was home at the time of the prank.
Apparently Eastwood is just one of many celebrities being “swatted”; the list includes Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise, the Kardashians, and Chris Brown. In the case of Ashton Kutcher, a 12-year-old boy was implicated when a call was made to 911 reporting a gun battle inside Kutcher’s home, with two people shot (clearly a theme!). Police arrived armed for battle and found no one there. The call was traced to the unnamed pre-teen, who is now charged with “two felony counts of making false bomb thread and two felony counts of computer intrusion.” [Source]
While swatting might elicit a chuckle from some, a head shake from others, in truth it’s not only a tremendous waste of resources and police time, it’s also potentially dangerous, particularly when gun battles are being reported and police respond with adrenaline pumping and guns drawn. The LAPD is not taking it lightly, with one officer stating:
“The suspects WILL be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” [Source]
Given that swatting calls are often made as a vendetta (blind hacker, Matthew Weigman, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 years in a federal prison on charges of conspiracy including “involvement in a swatting conspiracy” as retaliation against a witness), one wonders if someone has a beef against Mr. Eastwood. He’s a tough cookie and anyone who saw him in Gran Torino knows he doesn’t suffer idiotic hoodlum behavior gladly.
But, of course, it’s always possible there’s a testy liberal out there who didn’t take kindly to his RNC “chair chat.”