'Racial Motivation' Fueled Teen 'Swatting' Pranks Against BLM Activist: Police

Authorities alleged that three teenage boys are responsible for multiple "swatting" calls made against a prominent Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist.

The three teens, ranging in age from 13 to 16, are accused of orchestrating two swatting incidents at a Los Angeles residence in August 2020 and September 2021. Swatting is a fear tactic in which someone calls in a fake emergency to police, causing a SWAT team to be deployed to the home of a specific target.

While not named, the location lines up with the home of Medina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of BLM, The Guardian reported.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that the online communications between the three boys and the nature of the swatting calls point to racism as a prominent motivation for their actions.

"Some of the language used in the swatting incidents and a review of the subjects' online activities reflect a racial motivation theme to a number of these swatting attacks," the LAPD said in a statement.

teen boys swatting blm
Authorities alleged that three teenage boys are responsible for multiple "swatting" calls made against a prominent Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist. Above, SWAT team members search for a suspect at a residential building on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts. Mario Tama/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities determined the three boys live in New York, Ohio, and the Mediterranean country of Cyprus. The one living abroad is known to be a U.S. citizen.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the two boys based in the U.S. Several devices they used have also been seized by the FBI for analysis.

The three teens reportedly used the popular chat app Discord to communicate and carry out their plans. They also allegedly employed several pieces of software and privacy tools to mask their online presence.

In addition to the swatting calls, the group is allegedly responsible for roughly 30 bomb threats called in all across the country. These hoax calls targeted "other online persons, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues and memorial parks dating back to July 2020," the LAPD explained.

LAPD's Major Crimes Division plans to present the case against the three teens to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office soon, making the argument for criminal charges. They are also weighing the potential of classifying the actions as hate crimes, given the racial bias uncovered by investigators.

Newsweek reached out to the LAPD for a comment on this story.

In the past week, numerous major universities across the U.S. were targeted with bomb threats, forcing shutdowns and evacuations. The list of targets included the likes of Brown, Cornell, Columbia, New York, Ohio and Miami Universities. It is unknown at this time whether these hoax threats against the schools were in any way connected.