A Black U.S. Congresswoman from Ohio is the latest lawmaker to fall victim to “swatting” when police were called to her home in a prank on Monday (Jan. 29).
According to Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer, Rep. Shontel Brown said that she was targeted in a swatting attempt at her residence in Northeast Ohio. Brown was in Washington, D.C., when the incident took place.
In an official statement, Brown issued a statement addressing being the subject of harassment.
“It is truly alarming that someone would attempt to harass or intimidate me in this way, while also forcing law enforcement to devote resources unnecessarily,” Brown said in a statement.
“No one deserves this, and it puts so many people at real risk, including family members, neighbors, law enforcement, and others,” Brown’s statement continued. “We have got to get back to debating respectfully, respecting elections, and removing all violence and intimidation from our democracy.”
Also in her statement, Brown thanked the police department of Warrensville Heights for investigating the hoax call and said that her office has contacted the U.S. Capitol Police. It is unclear who was responsible for the swat, and police have not announced any arrests.
Fortinet, a Cybersecurity company, defines swatting as “the action of making hoax phone calls to report serious crimes to emergency services.” The purpose of the swatting is to trigger the emergency services into sending a message to Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) so they'll respond to the alleged emergency call.
Swatting incidents that involve elected officials have become more common in recent years. The Hill reported that Rep. Brandon Williams, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu were all targeted in swatted attempts at their homes on Christmas Day.
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