First, a definition for those few who don’t know the term swatting: Swatting is causing a police SWAT team to attack someone based on the false report of a dangerous or violent situation (e.g., a bomb threat or hostage-taking). The false report can be made by any means but most often it is done by calling 911 (emergency dispatch center).
Now for the facts:
1. 911 calls from phones cannot be spoofed so dispatchers see the caller’s correct location and phone number.
2. 911 calls from VoIP devices (Voice over Internet Protocol) can be spoofed, so a VoIP call should raise a red flag that it is fake.
3. 911 dispatch can tell whether the call they receive is from a phone or from a VoIP device (a computer, a VoIP phone, or a normal phone connected to a VoIP adapter).
4. In most cases all that is needed to tell a hoax from a true emergency is calling a phone number associated with the address given by the 911 caller.
Keep the above in mind when you read this description of a recent swatting:
On the basis of this VoIP call police went to the house address given by the caller. Mr. Andrew Finch who lived in the house, seeing flashing lights outside, came to the front door and was shot dead by a police officer. Police claim they told him to “to put his hands up,” but that he reached for his waist, so they shot him. Body cam video shows different, namely that no command “to put his hands up” can be heard and that he was shot when he raised his hand to his eyes, perhaps being blinded by police lights. See it for yourself.
After checking Andrew Finch for weapons and not finding any, police officers handcuffed his mother, Lisa Finch, her roommate and her granddaughter, “who witnessed the shooting and had to step over her dying uncle’s body, placed everyone into separate police cars, and took them downtown for interviews.” Interviews about what?
Now police want the public to believe their dispatchers cannot immediately tell whether a 911 call comes from a phone, or from VoIP. As if there are no APIs for doing just that. They also want the public to believe they can’t instantaneously find a phone number associated with the address given by the 911 caller.
What do you think? Why didn’t the police bother to check the source of the call, and why did they kill an innocent man and terrorize and humiliate his family?