During a recent get together with friends, things got a little heated. After the confrontation, one of your buddies suggests you get back at the offending person by playing a popular prank called "swatting" on him. The plan is to call police with the story that the other player was holding a person at gunpoint and to give them his address, knowing that armed law enforcement would show up at the person's house and scare him half to death. It sounds like a funny, harmless prank, right?
It is imperative that you and other Tennessee residents understand that swatting pranks are anything but harmless and can get you in serious legal hot water. You may remember a well-publicized incident that occurred last December, which illustrates this point.
Swatting incident goes tragically wrong
According to Vox, after an online gaming argument, a man from Los Angeles reported to authorities that a Wichita, Kansas, man had killed a family member and was holding other relatives hostage. Police officers arrived at the man's home and killed him when they mistakenly thought he was reaching for a weapon. Later reports confirmed the Kansas man was not even a part of the gaming dispute. The California man is facing manslaughter charges, as well as other charges related to filing a false police report.
Serious charges in store for swatting pranksters
As you can see, the simple act of making a false police report can result in criminal charges. If something goes wrong during law enforcement's visit to the unsuspecting person's home, as it did terribly in the above case, you could be held responsible for the victim's injuries or death.
People who have been charged with any crime have rights. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.