3 weeks ago
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Josh Peters knew what was happening the instant he heard his mother’s frantic voice.
It was around 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, and Peters, 27, was hosting an online stream as he played a video game, “Clash of Clans.” Peters makes a living as “Koopatroopa787,” the host of a channel on the website Twitch.tv, where more than 50,000 gamers watch him play and interact with him.
He had noise-canceling headphones on, so he only barely heard the commotion upstairs, hurried footsteps to the basement, and his mom shouting to him that the police were at the house. But Peters, who returned from a tour of duty with the Air Force in Kuwait last November, stayed calm and paused his stream. He knew why they were there.
“Right away, I knew I was being swatted,” he said.
St. Cloud police had received an anonymous call reporting an active shooter incident with a woman’s life in danger at Peters’ address, according to Lieutenant Jeff Oxton. It’s called “swatting,” and is a prank growing more common in the gaming community. Oxton said this was not the first swatting call St. Cloud police have responded to. Peters had heard of it happening to plenty of others, but never imagined he would be the target.
Kristin Darnall, Peters’ mother, was asleep when she heard pounding on the door. She looked out the window and saw police lights flashing. She went downstairs and saw through a window on the door several officers with weapons drawn.
Her husband came downstairs to let the officers in, but when he reached to undo the complex lock on the door, police yelled at him to keep his hands in the air. Peters was upstairs by this point. When the door was finally opened, Darnall said, police threw her husband and Josh to the floor. She stood with her back pressed against the wall, trying to ask what was happening … Oxton said police have to respond to these types of calls as if they are real.
Darnall said her 10-year old son, in the days since the incident, had suffered a migraine, had been play-acting the scenario with Nerf guns, and had woken with “night terrors.”
A Jackson couple says Ridgeland police pointed a weapon at their 6-year-old autistic son while serving a warrant on a family member in the home.
Paul and Angela Thompson Roby told WLBT that Ridgeland officers arrived in an unmarked car at a home owned by Angela Roby’s mother on Brisbane Lane. They were looking for Carneigio Gray, 23, who is Angela Roby’s brother.
Ridgeland spokesman Lt. John Neal said officers had received information that Gray, who has an outstanding warrant for contempt of court for failure to appear on a three-year-old paraphernalia charge, was staying in that house. When they entered the home, he resisted arrest.
That’s when the Robys said their son asked officers not to hurt his uncle. They told WLBT that officers then drew their weapons on the child.
COLUMBIA, SC — A criminal trial expected to be closely watched by law enforcement and gun owners around South Carolina opens Monday in federal court in Columbia.
At issue: whether Joel Robinson, 32, is guilty of a crime for shootinga DEA agent in the first few seconds of a surprise federal law enforcement raid last October at his Orangeburg house.
Agents expected to find a cache of drugs, but a search of the premises found nothing but a small amount of marijuana for recreational use, according to legal records in the case.
Robinson is expected to claim self-defense, saying he did what any citizen would have in assuming he was the target of a home invasion – grabbing a gun and firing a half-dozen shots in the direction of those he assumed were home invaders.
But the person struck by a Robinson bullet was DEA agent Barry Wilson, one of more than a dozen law officers surrounding the house. The bullet broke bones in Wilson’s right elbow and forearm. His recovery likely will take more than a year and he is expected to lose some use of that arm, according to testimony in a pretrial hearing.
During the trial, the prosecution is expected to claim that law officers on the scene announced themselves loudly, initiated flashing blue lights and sirens as they broke a side window in the house, and that, in any case, it is against the law to shoot a federal law officer in the performance of his official duties.
In the first case, the only real danger that night was from cops who pointed weapons at innocent people. No muzzle discipline is characteristic of this kind of tactic, and if this kind of lack of self restraint occurred on any range we regularly visit, most of us would beat the hell out of the perpetrator(s), or at least disarm them and make it clear they were never invited back.
In the second case, what is there really to say, except that the autistic boy was probably about as dangerous as the 95 year old man who was shot to death by cops in a nursing home.
These aren’t even all of the instances of such tactics, just three of the more prominent and recent. It’s as if reporting of this gruesome tactic is becoming dull and tedious. But in spite of the poor little autistic boy who was probably scared to death and certainly didn’t need this terror, the most legally interesting is the last one.
The salient observation here is that it is illegal to shoot a cop in the performance of his duty. And note that his “duty” is anything they want it to be, including home invasions in the middle of the night (with the cops looking like gang hoodlums with their faces covered) where the victim knows nothing about the event except that he and his family are in danger.
What this does – the notion that we cannot shoot home invaders for fear that we will shoot a cop in the performance of his duty, even if it is a wrong address raid – is effectively disarm innocent people. You can have all of the guns and ammunition you want, but if you can be hauled before court at any time for using them to defend your home, you may as well have nothing unless you’re willing to shoot back and accept the consequences. It’s almost as if this is all designed to create a passive class of sheep, no?
A man’s home is his castle … indeed!