London woman claims police mishandled alleged swatting incident
A London woman said she is traumatized after she was reportedly held at police gunpoint, stemming from an alleged hoax involving threats made towards city hall.
Clara Sorrenti claims she was woken up to a number of officers inside her home early Friday morning, one of which she said, was pointing a firearm at her face.
In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday, the 28-year-old transgender activist and video game streamer known as “Keffals” on the website Twitch, said she was later informed by police that at 6 a.m. the same morning, an email was sent to London city councillors threatening violence. Sorrenti said the message was written by someone impersonating her.
“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 her address.
After she was taken into police custody, Sorrenti was shown the email. She said her current name was written in the message, as well as her “deadname”, the name given at birth to a transgender person who has legally changed it.
“It was an obvious attempt to make the police humiliate me,” Sorrenti said.
She claimed police continued to call her by her deadname while in custody, and said she was booked at the station under that name. Sorrenti said she later learned that when police spoke with her mother, they allegedly referred to Sorrenti as “her son”. In her video, Sorrenti held up a London police property bag with “Roberts” written on it, which she said has not been her legal last name in over a decade.
“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. “This is despite the fact that the email contained my real name before ever mentioning my deadname.”
A copy of the search warrant Sorrenti was given following her release shows that officers came to her home to seize a handgun, ammunition, cartridges, firearm cleaning tools, a gun case, cell phone, and a computer. As a result, Sorrenti said she no longer has access to devices she used for work and personal use. A device belonging to her fiancé, which reportedly contained a PhD thesis was also taken in as evidence.
Sorrenti was not charged by police, but claims she is still considered a suspect in their investigation.
This is not the first time Sorrenti has fallen victim to a swatting incident, a form of harassment where attackers try to trick law enforcement into responding to a fake emergency. Just over a week ago, Sorrenti said she was contacted by Toronto law enforcement after similar threats were sent to local politicians. She said she was not charged in the incident and has not been deemed a suspect in that investigation.
“London Police Services should have been aware that this could happen. In fact, my brother called the LPS on March 27 in a conversation lasting 9 minutes and 16 seconds to see if my family could be put on a no-swatting list, only to be treated like we were wearing tinfoil hats and completely dismissed,” Sorrenti claimed. “They told my brother things would be fine. They were wrong.”
Sorrenti said after these recent, “terrorizing” incidents, she fears her life is in danger. She has since set up a GoFundMe to help her move and pay for a legal fund.
“I have been subject to emotional damages, financial damages, blatant violations of the Human Rights Act, and discrimination against me on the basis of gender identity and expression,” Sorrenti said.
London police officials have yet to publicly comment on the matter. In the meantime, Sorrenti said she needs to take a break from her social media job.
“When I was woken up by police officers and saw the assault rifle pointed at me, I thought I was going to die. I feel traumatized,” Sorrenti said. “I just want everyone to know what happened and to ask for help so I can seek justice for what happened to me.”