British Streamer Swatted
April 18, 2017
A British man has become the first person to be charged by police for placing a false threat which resulted in a US video game streamer getting shot in the face and chest with rubber bullets, fracturing his skull and bruising his lungs.
Robert McDaid, 21, is suspected to have placed a call to the terrorism hotline posing to be a man named Tyran Dobbs in the state of Maryland. The caller claimed to be armed with a firearm, numerous bags of explosives, and three hostages that would be killed on the spot unless $15,000 was delivered to the caller’s address. The address given is the home of the real Tyran Dobbs, 20, who was asleep during this time.
Armed police forces raided the Dobbs’s household and shot the 20-year-old between the eyes and chest with rubber bullets. After police had realized that Dobbs had been falsely accused of terrorism, investigators traced the call to Robert McDaid who lives in Coventry, a city in England.
McDaid has now been charged in the US with three offenses that include conspiracy to produce false information and hoax. If convicted, McDaid could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. The US Department of Justice reported that McDaid was allegedly requested by US gamer, Zachary Lee to assist in the “swatting” of Dobbs.
Zachary Lee has also been charged with the same offenses. Rod Rosenstein, who has been nominated by President Trump to be Deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice, said: “We are working with officials in the UK to ensure that Robert McDaid is held accountable for his alleged actions because the alleged criminal activity represents a grave threat to public safety.”
In the intervening time, Tyran Dobbs has started to disparage the police for not checking the authenticity of the call before acting. It has been reported that officers ignored both the father and cousin of Tyran Dobbs who were telling police that there were no hostages in the house.
In an interview with news station ABC7, Tyran Dobbs said: “How did y’all not trace this call back? How did y’all not figure out where it came from? I want justice. I want them to pay for my medical damages, and I want whoever shot me in my face to have to do some time.”
The tactic of calling armed police on others has been termed “swatting.” While the practice has been around for decades and has continued to grow more in popularity over the past years, it has been mainly used as a scare tactic towards video game streamer that the viewer either disagrees with or just dislikes.