According to the LAPD, adolescents motivated by prejudice were responsible for the'swattings' of the BLM leader.
The Los Angeles Police Department stated Friday that two separate "swatting" events at the home of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activist Melina Abdullah were committed by a gang of youths motivated by racial hatred.
The episodes that resulted in the LAPD surrounding the home of one of their most vocal critics were highly contentious — and the police received widespread criticism for their answers.
The teens, ages 13 to 16, were connected through the online chat platform Discord and are also suspected of being involved in 30 additional false emergency threats across the country since July 2020, the LAPD said. The threats targeted "other online users, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues, and memorial parks."
Police will bring evidence to local prosecutors in support of criminal conspiracy and establishing a false emergency charges against three of the teens, they added. One of the three resides in New York, another in Ohio, and the third – an American citizen — resides in Cyprus, according to authorities. They remained anonymous.
Police said search and arrest warrants were served concurrently at residences in Yonkers, New York, and Medina, Ohio, but did not specify whether the minors were detained or taken into custody. Additionally, they did not disclose whether or not law enforcement was pursuing the adolescent suspect in Cyprus.
The agency stated that the "language used" in the swatting attacks and "a study of the subjects' internet activities" indicated a "racial motivating theme" for the incidents, and that investigators will be requesting that prosecutors consider a hate crime enhancement in the pending legal proceedings.
"As the investigation progresses, additional cases and digital evidence are being gathered," the LAPD added.
Abdullah stated on Friday that she was skeptical of police assertions. Additionally, she stated that they did not explain what she believes were police officers' overbearing and intimidating actions in responding to her home during the swatting incidents.
"Even if what they're saying is accurate, the cops — the Los Angeles Police Department — took advantage of this chance to harass me and my family," Abdullah added.
Individuals commit "swatting" occurrences by falsely reporting crises at their targets' residences in order to elicit a strong police response. Federal law enforcement considers them to be extremely dangerous for the targets and have resulted in fatalities.
Abdullah filed a complaint saying that the Los Angeles Police Department bungled its response to a swatting incident at her residence in August 2020, when officers surrounded her home with weapons drawn and demanding she come out over loudspeaker.
According to police, a 911 caller claimed he was holding hostages in Abdullah's home and attempting to send a message that "BLM is a bunch of retards." The altercation was settled when Abdullah raised her hands in the air while live-streaming the incident on social media.
The incident on Aug. 12 is one of two involving Abdullah that police believe were staged by the youths.
After Abdullah filed her case, her home was swatted again in a week in September, on Sept. 23 and Sept. 29. Each time, police were dispatched to her residence.
In the first, police claimed someone contacted an unrecorded homicide line claiming to be Abdullah's son and informed them that his mother was dead and that he was armed with an AR-15. In the second, authorities stated that a 911 caller claimed Abdullah was being held hostage.
The LAPD provided a 911 audio from the call last year, but has denied requests for similar recordings in two recent occurrences, claiming the first was unrecorded and the second was withheld for investigative purposes.
According to police, the youngsters also coordinated the Sept. 29 incident. Police did not clarify whether they suspect the youths were also responsible for the unrecorded call from Sept. 23 — which Abdullah described as weird.
"It's weird that they're not discussing the September 23rd swatting, which appears to be the most secretive with the least amount of information, with the claim that it came in on an unrecorded line," she said.