We’re getting the details of a SWATting incident that occurred in Fairfax, Virginia on October 15.
SWATting is the dangerous and illegal practice of calling the police and claiming that a person is actively committing a violent crime with a weapon. The goal is to trigger an immense police response against the person or location, up to and including a SWAT team raid (hence the term, SWATting).
Originally practiced by online gamers to target their opponents, it has quickly evolved into a favored tactic gun control supporters, such as progressive radio show host Mike Malloy and the supporters of Moms Demand Action.
Moms Demand Action supporters regularly call for SWATting to be used as a tactic against lawful open carriers on the Moms Demand Action Facebook page, as we have documented numerous times in the past. Gun control supporters are very clear that it is their hope that open carriers are injured or killed by police officers responding to their calls.
These are just some of the comments of Moms Demand Action supporters promoting violence against open carriers as posted on the Moms Demand Action Facebook page.
On October 15, in Fairfax, Virginia, Robert Dickens became the victim of a SWATting call. The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) was able to obtain the details of the incident as provided by Robert Dickens, and provided the story to Bearing Arms via email.
Comments in brackets [ ] marked “PVC” below are in-line notations made by VCDL President Philip Van Cleave.
On 10/15/14 at about 5:30 pm, I stopped at a 7-11 for some coffee in the skyline area of Fairfax.
Like every other day when I’m off work, I had hopped on my motorcycle for a short ride. Being an open carry proponent, I didn’t think twice about putting on my every-day-carry pistol.
After leaving the 7-11, I went to the Verizon store for some quick shopping. Both stores are within five miles of my home. Chores done, I decided to go for a nice ride around the block.
What’s that Fairfax County officer looking at me like that for? Damn he’s going to pull me over! Yep… Lights, boop boop. Sigh.
Now I’m thinking that I’ve got my pistol on me and I’m asking myself how I would feel if I were an officer pulling over someone who was armed? [PVC: That is called “empathy,” something that normal, law-abiding people have, but violent criminals lack.]
Ok, turn the bike off, straddle the bike, interlock your hands on your head, and be calm. [PVC: Doing these steps calmly and slowly probably helped send a clear signal to the SIX responding officers in FOUR patrol cars that Robert was not a threat.]
As the officer gets out of his car, three other cars show up.
Wow, what did I do?
I let the first officer know that I have a firearm on my side. He says, “I know.” I did not move an inch!
To my surprise not one of the at least six police officers have a weapon pointed at me. [PVC: Hats off to FCPD for their professional handling of this situation! Robert’s life was not unnecessarily endangered during the stop by the police pointing their guns at him.]
The officer walks up behind me and asks if he can take the weapon from my holster. “Yes, sir,” I replied.
“Do you have any other weapons on you, sir?”
“Yes, sir, a knife in my pocket.”
“Ok I’m going to hold onto that also.”
“Yes, sir. Why did you stop me?”
“I will get to that in a minute.” [PVC: Robert wisely decides to temporarily let the issue drop at this point.]
As I’m being frisked, I’m still not moving and am keeping my hands on my head.
“Sir, can I put my hands down now?,” I asked when the frisking was concluded.
“Yes, you can stand at ease.”
At this point I ask the officer what is going on.
“Well, we had a person call from 7-11 and they stated that a white guy on a motorcycle robbed the place.”
I laughed nervously and told the officer that I left a 7-11 30 minutes ago, but that I didn’t rob the place! [PVC: This is where an attorney might advise the client to stop talking to the police for fear of saying something innocent that ends up getting misinterpreted. To do so properly, you must verbally indicate you are invoking the Fifth Amendment and stop talking. In this case it’s hard to argue with success, but one should be very, very cautious.]
I’m getting kind of angry now. I’ve heard of anti-gun people saying that they will call the police if they see an open carrier and make up some story to get the police to respond in a forceful manner.
Wow, I could have been killed!
Ten minutes later I’m on my way. With the police “checking the sanity of the caller.”
I put a call into the police station the following Monday and sent a email thanking FCPD for being very professional.
Mr. Dickens kept his composure during the stop despite the four squad cars in his mirror, and the Fairfax County Police Department acted very professionally as well. The FCPD responded to the call with the potential for force, but never once drew a weapon on Mr. Dickens placing him in danger, which was the clear intention of the caller.
What of the caller?
The VCDL contacted the FCPD to obtain a copy of the 911 call that the caller had made, and discovered that the caller is a known SWATter, who has SWATted others in the past.
Unfortunately, the individual in question—like many supporters of gun control—is thought to be mentally ill. The FCPD has a difficult time pursuing a criminal SWATting case against the caller because they can’t prove criminal intent.
Here is the recording of the 911 call.
So far this year, two people have been killed as a result of SWATing.
John Crawford III was gunned down by Beavercreek, Ohio police after being SWATted by Ronald Ritchie, a 911 called who claimed that Crawford was loading and then pointing an assault rifle at customers in a Walmart. Store security cameras later showed that Crawford was merely holding a BB gun that the store sells, and had not pointed the gun at anyone. Crawford was shot by Beavercreek officers without apparently being given a change to surrender. A shopper in the store suffered a heart attack and died after the police opened fire.
It remains to be seen if Ritchie will face criminal charges for his exaggerate 911 call that lead to these deaths.