LAPD Says Three Teenagers Fueled By Hatred Were Behind Swatting Calls That Sent Cops to Home of Los Angeles BLM Leader, But Activist Doubts Official Claim

Three teenagers, reportedly influenced by problematic behavior, are behind what authorities said were a slew of false 911 calls that triggered a large presence of law enforcement officers to the home of a prominent Black Lives Matter figure in the Los Angeles area.

The group is accused of committing two swatting calls — one in September and another in August 2020 — at the Los Angeles home of Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM-LA and a Cal State Los Angeles professor of Pan-Africanist studies. Her name was not initially listed in the reports, but it was her street where the two incidents took place was mentioned. 

Melina Abdullah speaks during the BLD PWR and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles final march to the polls on October 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

The trio is suspected in more than 30 bomb threats and so-called “swatting” incidents across the country, The Associated Press reported. Swatting refers to fake emergency calls made to send police to a specific address. 

Names of the suspects have not been made public, but their ages range between 13 to 16. Authorities issued arrest warrants last week for two of the suspects who live in Ohio and New York. The third individual is reportedly a U.S. citizen currently residing in Cyprus.

During a news conference captured by the outlet, Los Angeles police stated on Friday, Nov. 12, the teens, who reportedly met on the Discord chatting platform, have calls dating as far back as July 2020 where they allegedly targeted “other online persons, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues and memorial parks.”

Law enforcement agents also said that they were planning on bringing charges of criminal conspiracy as well as charges of creating a false emergency, alongside a request for hate crime enhancement in connection with the incidents involving Abdullah’s home.

“Some of the language used in the swatting incidents and a review of the subjects’ online activities reflect a racial motivation theme to a number of these swatting attacks,” the LAPD said.

Abdullah, who reportedly has a lawsuit pending against the department for the August 2020 incident, doubts reports regarding the three teenagers, telling the Los Angeles Times that even if true, the teens’ alleged behavior do not excuse the police behavior and tactics committed at her home which included surrounding her home with guns drawn and demanding via loudspeaker that she come out of the residence.

Police said the event that led to the encounter was a caller who claimed to be holding hostages in Abdullah’s home and was trying to send a message that “BLM is a bunch of retards.” The incident was resolved after Abdullah eventually came out with her hands up while streaming the incident to social media. Abdullah’s home was swatted twice more in one week in September.

“Even if what they’re saying is true, the police — LAPD — used this opening as an opportunity to attempt to terrorize me and my family,” the activist told the newspaper.

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