Officers in Rome, Georgia, confirmed that they responded to a call shortly after 1 am eastern time. The hoax caller claimed to have been shot multiple times, but when officers arrived at the scene they learned that the property belonged to Rep. Taylor Greene. The Republican politician assured the officers who arrived at the scene that there was no problem, and it was determined that she was the victim of a “swatting.”
Rome Police assistant chief Debbie Burnett told the press how the 911 dispatch then received a second call from the same suspect, who used voice-changing software to disguise his or her voice, and expressed anger over Greene’s views on so-called “transgender rights.”
What Does “Swatting” Mean and Is It Illegal?
Swatting is a criminal tactic used to harass people or put targets in danger.
The “prank” typically involves making a hoax call to the emergency services claiming that somebody is in a home or other property and about to commit a dangerous illegal act. Some hoax callers claim to be the individual they are targeting and will make threats to kill others or claim to have already killed somebody.
Others will provide anonymous tips, prompting authorities to attend the properties targeted in the call with a team of armed personnel.
Sometimes, these “prank” calls have deadly consequences.
In 2017, an innocent man named Andrew Finch was killed as the result of a swatting prank. Wichita police officer Justin Rapp killed Finch while responding to a fake 911 call believing that he was in possession of a gun.
The prankster who initiated the police visit called 911 and claimed to have poured gasoline all over his house and was preparing to set it on fire.
Tim Pool Swattings
Podcaster Tim Pool, formerly a liberal journalist who now hosts an online show frequented by popular right-wing Twitter personalities, has fallen victim to the same tactics many times over the last couple of years.
On multiple occasions, Pool’s “Timcast IRL” show has been attended by police officers responding to hoax 911 calls as the show was airing live.
In one show from June this year, Pool and his co-hosts declared that they needed to evacuate the building and abruptly left the set. They later confirmed that the show had once again been targeted by hoax 911 callers.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.
Note: This piece has been updated to delete one sentence where multiple competing facts have presented themselves since publication.