Swatting Celebrities Could Cost Pranksters $10,000 Under Proposed Law
See also: SWATting, a Deadly Political Game.
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Swatting has hit the homes of Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and others. And, while it probably is pretty funny to the braces-wearing little buttheads who dial 911 with app-enabled masked numbers to report that their favorite celeb is being kidnapped, it does end up costing taxpayers thousands of dollars for LAPD cops, Beverly Hills police and L.A. sheriff's deputies to swarm these mansions.
Torrance-based state Sen. Ted Lieu is proposing to put a stop to it all. And L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz has a similar anti-swatting rule headed for City Hall:
Lieu's SB 333 proposes to make these little shits pay up for the cost of sending all those cops to otherwise low-crime neighborhoods when they're sorely needed in other parts of town.
And it passed a key hurdle yesterday when Senate Public Safety Committee gave it a thumbs up.
The damage for these youngsters could be $10,000 a call, according to Lieu's office, which states:
The Los Angeles Police Department, LA County Sheriff's Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, and other agencies have spent thousands of dollars and put their officers in dangerous situations as a result of swatting incidents. Under Lieu's bill, which would apply to any cases of false 911 reports, a person convicted of making a false emergency report would be held liable for all costs associated with the response by law enforcement. Estimates range from several thousand to over $10,000 per episode.
Of course, Lieu's law doesn't really do anything to stop this, except maybe for scaring kids who might think twice before putting $10,000 on their parents' credit cards. Making false reports to authorities is already a crime.
But Lieu thinks it might work:
The recent spate of phony reports to law enforcement officials that someone's home is being robbed or is held hostage is dangerous and it's only a matter of time before there's a tragic accident. Swatting drains vital resources from law enforcement and puts officers and citizens into dangerous situations. To those who engage in this dangerous practice, be aware this is not a game and you will be held responsible for all associated costs.
Likewise, L.A. city Councilman Koretz is proposing a similar ordinance that would bill convicted swatters for the damage done.
The proposal's language, sent to the Weekly, says, "Sources inside the LAPD feel it's only a matter of time before an officer gets killed as a result of a 'swatting' incident."
Koretz' is asking the City Attorney's office to draft an ordinance. The proposal lists a cluster of recent swattings:
Last week, police responded to at least four "swatting" incidents at the homes of various celebrities. On Wednesday, police responded to the home of Sean Combs based on a false call to 911 that an assault was occurring. The next day, a caller falsely reported that a shooting had occurred at Rihanna's home in Pacific Palisades. The following day, police were summoned to Selena Gomez's home in Sherman Oaks based on a call that a murder had occurred inside her house and that there was a threat to burn her house down. When the police arrived, they found the report was false. Two hours earlier, an incident of shots being fired at Justin Timberlake's home in the Hollywood Hills was falsely reported and police responded only to find nothing out of the ordinary.
It sounds harmless, but you won't be laughing if it happens on a day when you need a cop.