What should I know about swatting?

You may have participated in phone pranks when you were much younger. You and your friends may have considered it harmless fun to call someone and ask if their refrigerator was running. However, it is vital for you and other Nebraska residents to understand the difference between an annoying prank and one that can result in serious criminal charges, as well as putting someone else at risk of bodily harm.

“Swatting” is a prank made more popular with online gaming and social media. As CNN explains, this prank involves someone making a false call to police and informing them that a violent crime is occurring or about to occur, then giving them a different person’s address. This results in armed law enforcement arriving at the unsuspecting person’s residence. You may remember the now-infamous case from December 2017, in which a man was killed in a swatting prank gone wrong. Officers showed up at his Kansas home after a California man called authorities, claiming to have killed family members, and provided the other man’s address. Recently, the caller was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the prank.

Often, people play this prank on others after a dispute during an online game or to annoy a celebrity or someone they do not like. They may think their actions will not have any consequences, but as you can see, this joke can take an unexpected direction. Regardless of intent or circumstances, you are entitled to seek a competent defense if you have been charged with a crime.