Los Angeles News
Senator Proposes To Make Swatting A Felony
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jan 23, 2013 - 3:08:18 PM

LOS ANGELES—A bill was proposed by Democratic Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance on Wednesday, January 23 in order to increase the penalties involved with swatting suspects. The proposed measure is co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
Senator Ted Lieu. Photo courtesy of senate.ca.gov.

“The recent spate of phony reports to law enforcement officials that the home of an actor or singer is being robbed or held hostage is dangerous and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a tragic accident,” Lieu said in a statement.

“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 in terms of jail time and all associated costs.”

The bill states that if a person is convicted for making a false emergency report, they will be held responsible for all costs involved with the response by law enforcement. Lieu's bill makes it easier to charge a suspect with a felony when someone comes to harm due to the prank call. In addition, prosecutors would not have to show that the suspect was aware that injury or death was possible as a result of the hoax.

The recent prank calls report violent incidents that require a SWAT team, often at the home of celebrities, are costly on the city and take away police and firefighters from responding to real emergencies. Many of the swatting cases are reported via a TTY device which is usually used by the deaf to type text over the telephone.

Los Angeles officers will still respond to emergency calls in large numbers and with force if they believe it is necessary. However, efforts are being made to inform officers more quickly whether or not the reported emergency appears to be another case of swatting.

Past celebrity victims of swatting include Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Tom Cruise and most recently Chris Brown.

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