Twitch streamer Clara “Keffals” Sorrenti was “terrorised” by police when arrested after a swatting incident.
The trans Canadian streamer recounted the event in a YouTube video titled “My life is in danger. I need your help”, where she described being woken up by police officers pointing an assault rifle in her face at her home.
She was subsequently taken into police custody where she was accused of crimes she did not commit.
During questioning, she was informed that emails impersonating her had been sent to every council member in the region – London, Ontario – stating she killed her own mother, was in possession of an illegal firearm, and had plans to enter city hall and shoot every cisgender person there.
Despite the fact the emails were full of errors and deadnamed Sorrenti – in her words, it was “something a troll would say” – the police took the threat seriously. She believes this shows the anti-trans bias of the police.
Although Sorrenti legally changed her name a decade ago, the police continued to refer to her by her deadname.
The police searched Sorrenti’s home for a handgun, ammunition, cartridges, cleaning tools, a gun case, cellphones, and computers. They seized her work and personal phones, as well as the computer she uses for Twitch streaming and the phone and computer of her partner.
Sorrenti says they were both left functionally unemployed as a result, and she has spent thousands of dollars replacing equipment.
Even now, she is unable to access certain platforms as the police still hold her phone and computer until analysed by digital forensics, which could take months. That’s despite her being released once the police realised this is not the first time Sorrenti has suffered from a swatting attack.
“Despite getting a search warrant to search my home and finding no guns, as well as my mother alive and well, I am still a suspect in an investigation by London police services,” says Sorrenti.
As a trans streamer with videos and streams on LGBT+ and political issues, Sorrenti is no stranger to controversy. Recently, she was banned by Twitch for openly discussing the harassment she receives on the platform.
However, she states this attack is based on discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
“Swatting is a crime. Identity theft is a crime. And because it was a crime motivated by hatred against transgender people, it was a hate crime perpetrated against me,” says Sorrenti.
“Instead of the police helping me, they terrorised me and my loved ones, traumatising me and leaving my fiancé and I on the verge of losing everything. They victimised me for being the victim of a hate crime.”
Sorrenti notes that without a policy against swatting in her hometown, there’s a possibility this could happen again in the future.
She adds: “I do not yet know when I’m going to be returning to broadcasting on Twitch. 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 traumatised.
“I just want everyone to know what happened and to ask for help so I can seek justice for what happened to me.”