Congresswoman Katherine Clark Target of Swatting Hoax

Melrose, MA -- Last night, Sunday, January 31, at approximately 10:00 pm multiple police officers responded to an anonymous call claiming there was an active shooter at Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s home. Clark, her husband, and two of her children were home at the time.   

“My family and I are grateful to Chief Lyle and the Melrose Police Department for their timely and professional response,” said Clark. “No mother should have to answer the door to the police in the middle of the night and  fear for her family’s safety simply because an anonymous person disagrees with her. I’m relieved that no one was hurt, but the sad reality is, these hoaxes known as “swatting” are a danger to victims, first responders, and our emergency preparedness. This is the exact reason that I introduced the Interstate Swatting Hoax Act – I want perpetrators to know that there are legal repercussions to their actions, and I’m committed to giving law enforcement the tools to deter these dangerous crimes.”   

Hoaxes involving the manipulation of emergency response systems in order to provoke an armed police response – often a S.W.A.T. team – is commonly known as “swatting” and has become a popularized method of attacking unsuspecting private citizens including domestic violence survivors, journalists, public figures, and online gamers. Clark, a forceful advocate of curbing online abuses and severe online threats that disproportionately target women, has introduced a  number of reforms to address online abuse, including a bill  that makes swatting a federal crime.

Clark has championed combatting severe online threats and abuse, which disproportionately affects women and girls. Clark successfully garnered the U.S. House’s backing to instruct the Department of Justice to investigate severe online threats, and to use existing laws to prosecute these crimes. Clark introduced the Prioritizing Online Threats Enforcement Act to ensure that federal law enforcement has the resources they need to enforce laws regarding the use of the internet to perpetuate severe threats.