Rep. Nardolillo will introduce legislation to combat the dangerous national trend known as “swatting”
Printer Friendly View
Providence, RI - Rep. Nardolillo (R District 28 – Coventry) will introduce legislation to combat the dangerous national trend known as “swatting.
The act of falsely reporting a serious crime in progress in hopes of causing a police response is known as “swatting” and it has been a growing problem in recent years. Most recently, the “prank” left a Kansas man dead after police received a call alleging he was holding his family at gunpoint. The report was actually filed by a 25-year-old man in California who had been playing against the victim in the online video game Call of Duty.
Sadly, this is one of a number of incidents resulting from the prank. In 2015, a Maryland man was seriously wounded after officers were dispatched to his home based on a “swatting” call and in 2009, a 19-year-old man was sentenced to 11 years in prison for carrying out dozens of “swatting” pranks across the country.
“After I learned about the shooting in Wichita and the other incidents that had occurred before, I knew that something had to be done. This kind of behavior wastes valuable police resources and risks innocent lives for no reason,” stated Rep. Nardolillo.
According to the FBI, there are around 400 incidences of “swatting” every year but others argue that number could be in the thousands. Unfortunately, the bureau does not keep track of “swatting” incidents because they are so difficult to investigate and prosecute.
Rep. Nardolillo’s bill would give prosecutors more power to fight back against those who commit these acts by increasing the penalties associated with false reporting. Anyone who knowingly calls in a false report of a kidnapping or attempted murder in progress, both mainstays of “swatting,” shall be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison. Additionally, the victim may also be able to seek compensation from the person who called in the false report for any damages they incur.
“This legislation will ensure that the citizens of our state as well as our law enforcement community have a way to fight back against this cowardly act. If we can prevent a tragedy like the event in Kansas from happening here, it will all be worth it,” Rep. Nardolillo said.
Ian O'Connor, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903