When a Prank Turns Deadly, who is To Blame?

ACWORTH, Georgia. Three men called 911 to report a hostage situation. The police believed them. An innocent man ended up dead, and the three pranksters were indicted on federal charges. What happened here and who is to blame? The family of the victim blame both the police who shot the victim while responding on the scene of the crime and the people who falsely reported the hostage situation. The case has garnered the attention of the media, raising issues about whether police have the training they need to de-escalate situations without shooting.

The story unfolded like this: three men were playing the video game, Call of Duty. One of the men threatened to SWAT (call the police and make a false report) on the other. The man who was threatened provided an old address and dared the other two men to do it. The men did it, calling the police, making them believe that they were dealing with a potentially deadly, and even explosive hostage situation.

According to the New York Times, the men face charges of up to 20 years in prison. One of the men facing charges has a long history of making false reports to police, resulting in buildings being evacuated. The man later claimed that he had become addicted to the power he felt when he made the false reports.

Yet, the mother of the deceased man thinks that justice will not have been served until the police in the situation have also been held to account. According to Wired, when the police dispatchers received the report initially, they didn’t send specially-trained SWAT teams to the scene. Instead, they sent local patrol officers. The officers made a deadly mistake when the man exited his house. An officer believed that the man was reaching for a gun.  He was shot and killed. Wired reports that this is the first instance of a deadly swatting.

The mother of the victim claims that the police and justice system failed her son in many ways. For one, the swatter who made the call was known to repeatedly make false bomb threats and make false reports resulting in evacuations of buildings and police response. Despite this, the man remained free. She wondered why the police hadn’t arrested him and why the justice system had not given him a more serious sentence.

While the man who made the false reports to police faces charges, the mother of the man who died wondered why the local police hadn’t faced any consequences. The mother hired a lawyer who sues law enforcement for police brutality. Given the high-profile nature of this case, the hope was that it would raise awareness of the need to train officers in swatting situations and train officers when it comes to shooting. In Wichita, where the shooting took place, 40% of police shootings occur among communities of color, when these communities only make up 24% of the population.

As more acts of police brutality leave families devastated, more families are fighting back by pursuing lawsuits. Amanda Hall Injury Law are Acworth, Georgia personal injury lawyers who are closely watching these cases unfold. Have you been injured by another person or party? Our law firm works diligently to understand who may have been at fault and to hold these parties accountable. Disentangling negligence after a car accident or personal injury can sometimes be complex. Don’t carry the blame for someone else’s actions. 

Amanda Hall Injury Law
145 Towne Lake Pkwy, Ste 200
Woodstock Ga 30188