Blog Archives

Questions Arise About Swatting Prank That Ended In Death

There was a swatting incident on December 30, 2017 in Wichita, Kansas.  I’ve been reporting on it on my other blog.  Some of you might already know that my other blog deals solely with cyber abuse, whether harassment, stalking, swatting, threats, spoofing, or combinations.

Today after reading some articles and comments on Twitter about the most recent swatting incident, I asked myself if there is anything I could have done to make information more available; to inform the public that spill-over of internet harassment into the personal lives of target victims is dangerous.  However, as with other issues, people don’t seem to take an interest unless major media reports it first or unless it happens to them.  Then too, I’m only a drop of water in a vast ocean.

Swatting is a prank where someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of a happening crime involving killing or hostages and guns.  Police arrive and at times, SWAT is dispatched.

In order to pull-off the prank, an address is needed and that is generally obtained by doxing targets.  Doxing is the seeking and gathering of personal information of others to use to harass, cause them fear and distress, post publicly on the internet, and yes — to swat or encourage others to do so.

On November 23, 2014, I blogged about a civil case filed in Northern Illinois that involved swatting.  The plaintiff in that case was awarded $50,000 by a jury.

On February 9. 2015, I blogged about a case where a Nevada man swatted a resident of Naperville, IL and was extradited to Illinois for prosecution.  The State’s Attorney stated that he would seek legislation to make swatting a felony.

On May 20, 2015, I recapped those two cases in another blog post about a couple arrested for harassment by eletronic media.

In August 2017, I wrote a post about a Bill introduced by Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA).  The Bill is H.R. 3067 and is titled the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017.  If passed, it will make swatting and doxing federal crimes.

Now that the father of a 2-year old and 7-year old is dead because of a swatting prank,, the Post Gazette, and the New York Times among other news sources, are reporting on the introduced Bill and asking the question, who is at blame for Andrew Finch’s death? Read the rest of this entry

Wrongfully Convicted (Former) Skinhead Changes Paths


Kevin Baruxes at his parents’ home after his exoneration. — Peggy Peattie

Kevin Baruxes of Rancho Bernardo, California was 17 years old when 20-year-old Courtni Mahaffy invited him into her apartment for a water or lemonade.  He thought she was being nice.  In 1996, Courtni told police that three men, including Kevin Baruxes, who had just turned 18, raped her at knife point. She vividly recalled the “Skinhead” tattoo on Kevin;s’ back. She said that even though she was white, Kevin told her to “go back to Africa.”

Every time Courtni spoke to detectives, her story and description of Kevin changed.  In spite of her changing story, a lack of physical evidence, and Kevin’s alibi that he was home with his family, the jury convicted him. He was sentenced to 18 years to life.   Kevin went to prison so afraid that he didn’t use the bathroom for 4 days.  He didn’t want the other inmates to know the crime he was convicted of committing, and that went well until about 5 years into his sentence. Read the rest of this entry

California Man Charged With Identity Theft In Cyber-Harassment


California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

On January 19, 2016, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Placer County District Attorney R. Scott Owens, announced the arraignment of Riley Bangerter, 36, of Roseville. Bangerter has been charged with 11 counts of identity theft in a case of cyber harassment. Bangerter was arrested on December 3, 2015 and was arraigned on January 11, 2016.  Bangerter has pled not guilty.

In 2011, Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit within the California Department of Justice to identify and prosecute for crimes including identity theft, cybercrimes and other crimes involving the use of technology.

An investigation by Attorney General Harris’ eCrime Unit found that Bangerter superimposed images of his ex-wife onto pornographic images and posted them online, accompanied by her personal identifying information.

When announcing charges against Bangerter, AG Harris stated,

“Bangerter’s heinous actions sought to humiliate, belittle and destroy the personal and professional life of his victim. This prosecution sends a clear message to all who dare to perpetrate the crimes of cyber harassment and cyber exploitation, that these cowardly acts will not be tolerated in California. I thank the Placer County District Attorney’s office for their partnership and commitment to holding Bangerter accountable for these deplorable acts.”

Read the rest of this entry

The Execution of Noel Aguilar

There are videos showing shootings that cause my mouth to fall open. They make me sad. Some have brought me to tears. Some have caused me to feel helpless. (Oh God! If I only had the power to resurrect the dead.)

1d1127158af46f092d7e4274f2e30ec9There are no words to describe what I felt when watching the video of the killing of Noel Aguilar. The closest I can come to describing my feelings is when seeing photos of Nazi Germany officers nonchalantly shooting Jewish men, point blank. That was before my time. It was in another country. It was during war.

Noel was 23-years old. What happened to Noel is during my life-time. It happened in my country. There is a war between truth and lies. Certainly, if the truth is told, then just maybe citizens could sigh in relief that justice will be served. But, when there are lies to cover up murder, what can citizens do?

The ACLU of Southern California calls the video “chilling.”

It’s hard to watch, but we must watch. Noel deserves it. As chilling as it is, we must watch.

noel-aguilar-The backdrop of the story makes the video all the more chilling. It is usual to hear stories of officer involved shootings that allege that the suspect was armed with a gun. In some of those cases, it turns out that the suspect did have a gun. In some cases, it was a toy gun that the officer claimed not being distinguishable from a real gun. In some cases, the officer was at risk. In other cases, no gun was found. In some cases, a cell phone or keys were mistaken for guns. There are cases where officers or rent-a-cops mistook their guns for tazers. And then, there are cases where officers were simply angry, and used their weapon. Read the rest of this entry

Illinois Passes Police Reform Law

elgie-sims“Police encounters gone tragically wrong in Ferguson, New York City, Baltimore and elsewhere forced the nation to confront uncomfortable realities about race and policing in America, and here in Illinois, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle felt compelled to take action to address the disparities and restore trust. Independent investigations, better training and better record-keeping will foster an atmosphere of seriousness about tackling racial disparities in law enforcement and zero tolerance of police misconduct.” Statement of Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), who spearheaded the legislation in the House.

Kwame Raoul

Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul

“Illinois has set the standard, set the standard nationally.” Statement of Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul, who co-sponsored the Bill in the state senate.


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law, which will take full effect in January 2016. Currently the state is forming a commission to review training requirements and other issues. The commission is scheduled to report to legislators and Governor Rauner by the end of January.

Some of the highlights of the new law.

Read the rest of this entry

Helping a Friend Ends Up Being Mistaken For Thief and Killed By Police

On June 2, 2013, Ricardo Diaz Zeferino and Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez were helping a friend look for his stolen bike.

Police responded to a call about a bicycle stolen from outside a CVS drugstore on Western Avenue. The police dispatcher mistakenly told the officers that the crime was a robbery, which generally involves a theft using weapons or force. One of the suspects was described as wearing a yellow shirt.

The officers headed to the area in search of two suspects. Sergeant Christopher Cuff saw two men riding bicycles. Mistaking them for the thieves, Sergeant Cuff ordered the men to stop and put their hands up.

Diaz-Zeferino, whose brother owned the stolen bicycle, ran up to his friends as they stood before the police car.   They tried to tell the police that the bike stolen belonged to his brother. Read the rest of this entry

New California Gun Law the First of Its Kind in the U.S.

Good job, Richard Martinez and Peter Rodger.

You might remember the names, or they might sound familiar. In May 2014, Christopher Martinez was killed by Elliot Roger in a spree that took the lives of 6 others and wounded 13. Family members of Isla Vista killer, Elliot Rodger, had reported their concerns to Santa Barbara law enforcement after the 22-year-old posted videos of himself threatening violence online. In response, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies visited Rodger’s apartment just three weeks before the murders and performed a police procedure known as a “welfare check.” The deputies found Elliot to be polite and amenable.

The deputies did not know then that Elliot legally owned three handguns, nor had they viewed the threatening videos that Elliot made.

Richard Martinez, Christopher’s dad, was very vocal about gun violence, saying:

“Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness? We should say to ourselves, not one more.”

Read the rest of this entry

The Bay Area just got hit with its largest earthquake in 25 years

A friend in LA told me this afternoon that there had been an earthquake. I have not had on the television to hear about it. Thanks for the report.

The Fifth Column


At 3:20 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 hit the San Francisco Bay Area.

The USGS reports that it occurred 6.7 miles below the surface, with an epicenter just south of Napa and about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. This is the strongest earthquake felt by the region in 25 years, since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which had a magnitude of 6.9.

There have been no deaths reported so far, but 87 people are being treated for injuries at a Napa hospital, and three are in critical condition — including a child struck by fragments of a collapsing chimney.

There are also numerous damaged buildings and roads in and around Napa, including a damaged highway foundation near the city of Vallejo.

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10 things you need to know today: July 16, 2014

The Fifth Column

A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza. A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Week

Israel resumes air strikes after Hamas rejects cease-fire, Buffett gives away a record $2.8 billion, and more

1. Israel launches more air strikes after Hamas rejects truce
Israel resumed its air strikes in Gaza on Tuesday after Hamas, which runs the Palestinian territory, rejected a cease-fire plan proposed by Egypt and approved by Israel’s security cabinet. Israel warned that Hamas “would pay the price,” and urged tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in northern and eastern Gaza, suggesting their neighborhoods would be targeted next. A fresh barrage of rockets from Gaza killed one Israeli man. [The Dallas Morning News]


2. Buffett gives his biggest annual charity gifts ever
Investment billionaire Warren Buffett donated a record $2.8 billion in securities to charity this year, according to a report to the…

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California teacher’s Trayvon Martin yearbook tribute stirs controversy

Target Employee Helps Find Kidnapped Child

David Douglas, 43, is in jail on a $4 million bond because of an observant employee.

Halle Berry in The Call

Halle Berry in “The Call”

Reading this story reminded me of the movie, “The Call.”  I’ve watched that movie at least 4 times.   It has a kidnapping with a bad ending, and a kidnapping with a good ending.  The one with the good ending is because of a 911 operator who listened to the recording of a call, and hearing a sound, remembered that sound when she went to the house that the police had visited, but did not find the kidnapper neither his victim. Halle Berry plays the character Jordan Turner, the 911 operator.

Roxanna Ramirez is a real life Jordan Turner. Read the rest of this entry

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