Posted November 13, 2021 from The Guardian —
Authorities say three teenagers driven by racial hatred were behind hoax calls that brought major police responses to the home of a leading Black Lives Matter activist in Los Angeles.
The teenagers, aged 13 to 16, connected over the Discord chat platform and are suspects in more than 30 bomb threats and so-called “” incidents across the country, according to Los Angeles police.
Swatting refers to a phony emergency call made to attract police to a particular address without cause.
The teens are accused of perpetrating two fake swatting calls at the home of Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM-LA and a Cal State Los Angeles professor.
The teens are accused of perpetrating two fake swatting calls – one in September this year and one in August 2021 – at the home of Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM-LA and a Cal State Los Angeles professor.
Police did not identify Abdullah by name as a victim of the teens, but listed her block as the location of two of the swatting incidents.
Los Angeles police said the teens were behind hoaxes dating back to July 2020 that targeted “other online persons, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues and memorial parks”.
Police will present a case to Los Angeles county prosecutors for criminal conspiracy and creating a false emergency charges and plan to request a hate crime enhancement in connection with the incidents at Abdullah’s home.
“Some of the language used in the swatting incidents and a review of the subjects’ online activities reflect a racial motivation theme to a number of these swatting attacks,” police said in a news release.
Two of the teenagers live in Ohio and New York, where authorities served search warrants on Tuesday. The third teenager is a US citizen in Cyprus.
Abdullah, a prominent police critic, has condemned LAPD responses to her home which included armed Swat officers surrounding her house and ordering her to come outside through a loudspeaker. She has a pending lawsuit against the department for its actions during the swatting on 12 August 2020.
Abdullah told the Los Angeles Times she doubted the LAPD’s information regarding the teenagers. She also said the teenagers’ alleged actions do not excuse the police officers’ tactics at her home.
“Even if what they’re saying is true, the police – LAPD – used this opening as an opportunity to attempt to terrorize me and my family,” Abdullah said.
Reached by the Associated Press, she said she would be putting out a statement on social media.
This content was originally published here.