Chief addresses ‘swatting’ incident, says police are investigating
After London Police were accused of entering a woman’s home and pointing a gun at her, the city’s Chief of Police has publicly commented on the incident for the first time.
In a news release sent out on Wednesday afternoon, Steve Williams discussed the arrest of Clara Sorrenti, also known as Twitch streamer “Keffals”.
“We are aware of public interest surrounding a recent occurrence involving London police and our response to serious threats of harm made against members of our community. That investigation is still underway, and it would be premature of me to speak any further to it at this time,” wrote Williams.
Sorrenti – who is a transgender woman – claims she was awakened to a number of officers inside her home early in the morning on August 5. One of the officers, she said, was pointing a firearm at her face.
The attack appears to be a case of “swatting.” The term describes an internet intimidation tactic in which somebody posed as Sorrenti and sent threats to London city councillors with the intention of eliciting a response from police.
“An email impersonating me was sent to every city councillor in London, Ontario stating that I killed my mother, I have an illegal firearm, and I plan to go to city hall and shoot every cisgender person I see,” Sorrenti said in a video on her YouTube channel.
Sorrenti also said London Police used her dead name when addressing her after she was arrested. Williams wrote about that in his news release.
“It has come to my attention that Ms. Sorrenti was referred to during her time in London police custody by an incorrect name and gender. We acknowledge the distress this has caused Ms. Sorrenti and we will be reviewing the occurrence to understand how that might have happened. At this time, we are still in the process of gathering the information necessary for this review,” he wrote. “The London Police Service is committed to bias-free policing and treating all individuals with respect and dignity. We work closely with LGBT2QSIA community partners in London to ensure we are responsive to the needs of the community, and to address any concerns they may have. We acknowledge that despite our best efforts we may fall short at times, and in those situations, we learn, we educate, and we do better.”
Williams says London Police Service is reviewing the incident and has been in contact with Sorrenti about it.
“The fact that a fake email, the one that made police officers point an assault rifle at me, led to London Police Services (LPS) booking me under my deadname reveals the prejudice that many police have towards transgender people,” Sorrenti said in her video. “This is despite the fact that the email contained my real name before ever mentioning my deadname.”
Sorrenti was released from custody and was not charged in the incident.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sorrenti tweeted that she’d be getting her phone and other belongings back from London Police.
Just got a call from an officer with the Hate Crime Division of London Police Services. He talked to the Chief of Police. I'm getting my stuff back in an hour.
— Clara Sorrenti (@keffalsbackup) August 10, 2022
She said police had seized those items in their investigation.