21-year-old Robert McDaid may end up as the first person from the United Kingdom to be sentenced 20 years in prison over the charge of swatting.
Swatting is the practice of calling law enforcement agencies under the pretense of a false identity and implicating other people. The distasteful act has grown in popularity in recent years, usually targeting streamers so that everyone can watch as the victim is taken into custody.
According to a report by Independent, McDaid dialed a terrorism hotline in Maryland back in February 2015 and posed as Tyran Dobbs, who at the time was asleep in North America. He threatened to be armed with a gun and several bags of explosives, and demanded $15,000 in ransom or else he would kill three hostages.
The police took the threat very seriously and raided the house of the real Dobbs, breaching and shooting the 20-year-old in the chest and between the eyes with rubber bullets. By the time the officers realized their mistake, it was too late. Graphic images reveal the aftermath of the raid, with Dobbs ending up with a heavily swollen and cut face.
A following investigation traced the prank call back to McDaid and another American gamer by the name of Zachary Lee, who allegedly is the person who contacted McDaid for his help in swatting Dobbs.
The United States court has charged McDaid with three offenses including conspiracy to produce false information and hoax. He currently faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted. Lee is also being charged, but it is unknown if he is facing the same sentence.
“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,” said US prosecutor Rod Rosenstein.
Swatting is a serious offense and wastes valuable police resources. While some look at it as a harmless prank, it should be taken into account that sometimes swatting can lead to serious situations. Dobbs may have been hit with rubber bullets, but the damage could have been worse. People need to let this trend die.