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posted by janrinok on Monday February 05, @07:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the idle-hands dept.

Police suspect that a 17-year-old from California, Alan Filion, may be responsible for "hundreds of swatting incidents and bomb threats" targeting the Pentagon, schools, mosques, FBI offices, and military bases nationwide, CNN reported.
Recently extradited to Florida, Filion was charged with multiple felonies after the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) traced a call where Filion allegedly claimed to be a mass shooter entering the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque in Sanford, Florida. The caller played "audio of gunfire in the background," SCSO said, while referencing Satanism and claiming he had a handgun and explosive devices.
According to SCSO, police were able to track down Filion after he allegedly "created several accounts on websites offering swatting services" that were linked to various IP addresses connected to his home address. The FBI then served a search warrant on the residence and found "incriminating evidence."

Filion has been charged as an adult for a variety of offenses, including making a false report while facilitating or furthering an act of terrorism. He is currently being detained in Florida, CNN reported.

Earlier this year, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced legislation to "crack down" on swattings after he became a target at his home in December. If passed, the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act would impose strict penalties, including a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for any swatting that lead to serious injuries. If death results, bad actors risk a lifetime sentence. That bill is currently under review by the House Judiciary Committee.
FBI announced it would finally begin tracking swatting incidents nationwide. Hundreds of law enforcement agencies and police departments now rely on an FBI database to share information on swatting incidents.

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by stratified cake on Monday February 05, @09:22AM (2 children)

    by stratified cake (35052) on Monday February 05, @09:22AM (#1343080)

    If the police themselves consider a visit by them an act of terror, maybe reconsider how you do police?

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, @10:31AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, @10:31AM (#1343087)

    Yeah, swatting wouldn't be a thing if the cops weren't so bad.

    You're doing it wrong when your cops are trained and conditioned to be more trigger happy than your soldiers (who are already infamous for being too trigger happy). []

    There are plenty of recent stories involving white police officers who have shot and killed black men, including some who are on trial for those shootings. Then there's the case of a white cop who did not shoot a black man holding a gun — and it may have cost him his job.

    The gun did turn out to be empty, though Mader said the officers had no way of knowing that for sure.

    He said that though he tried to talk to Williams one-on-one while he was there, when the other officers showed up, all they saw was someone waving a gun around.

    "The one officer felt that his life was in danger, along with others', and he decided to fire at the subject," Mader said. "And I believe he was justified in what he did."

    What Mader thinks was not justified happened a few days later: Police Chief Rob Alexander told Mader that he was being fired for putting his fellow officers' lives in danger.

    Swatting not a thing in my country. If you fake a call the cops will go investigate and not simply shoot you, your family and/or your dogs. Then they'll investigate the caller. So since most callers know that it's too rare that anything will happen to their targets, while something might happen to them, they don't bother.

    Whereas in the USA there's actually a high enough chance that something bad might happen to the target

    If firefighters were as cowardly as US cops, they'd be spraying burning buildings from afar and rarely risk their lives to save people.

    I suspect if a swatting results in a death the swatter will go to prison but the cops actually responsible won't (did the cops go to prison for these: [] [] ).

    p.s. I'm a coward too but I don't collect a cop's salary and pretend to be a cop.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday February 06, @03:35AM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday February 06, @03:35AM (#1343264)

      I suspect if a swatting results in a death the swatter will go to prison but the cops actually responsible won't

      This in fact happened in one fairly well-documented incident: The cops were given the wrong address by the swatter, turned up at somebody's house, somebody who lived there stepped out to talk to the cops, and the cops panicked and shot and killed him. The cops were given a pass on the grounds that they believed they were in lethal danger. After a lot of publicity, they eventually bothered to track down the source, and it turned out some kid had done it over being mad about a video game and managed to get somebody killed who wasn't even playing.

      It's also worth noting that US police training is laughably limited compared to what is standard for most other police forces. The length of time in police training is measured in weeks, that's how little it is, and the emphasis is all on weapons and fighting tactics, not on how to talk down dangerous people or handle mental health episodes or the laws that they're supposed to be enforcing. That's right, in the US, cops are not required to know the law in any significant way, and are not held responsible for any mistakes they might make due to that legal ignorance.

      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.