The Harvard Crimson is reporting four Black students were the victim of a police “swatting” after a hoax gone horribly wrong. “Swatting” is the action or practice of making a prank phone call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.
According to reports, the Harvard University police received a false 911 call stating there was an armed person in the suite early Monday morning. The police responded by calling the suite and there was no answer. After the police received no response, the police arrived at 4:30 a.m. and “swatted” the suite in the dormitory. The Crimson reports:
“‘HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said in an interview that Harvard University Police were dispatched to the building after a report ‘threatening violence against occupants.’ The officers searched the Leverett House suite with ‘negative results for an individual with a firearm or any persons acting in a suspicious manner,’ Catalano said.
At the time of the raid, seniors Jarah K. Cotton ’23, Jazmin N. Dunlap ’23, David G. Madzivanyika ’23, and Alexandra C. René ’23 were in the suite, according to Cotton, who said she was woken around 4 a.m. by the sound of banging and commands to ‘open up.'”
The police officers entered the suite with riot gear and rifles. The incident has left affected students frightened and scared with many questions. The HUPD is coordinating with the FBI to figure out from where the call originated. Making a false report of a serious crime is a criminal offense, and can result in charges of making a false report, false alarm, and other related crimes.
Read more at The Harvard Crimson.
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