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'Instead of police helping me, they victimized me': Twitch transgender activist alleges gunpoint 'swatting' by London police

“I thought I was going to die,” recalls Clara Sorrenti. “As soon as I saw the rifle I screamed.”

On Aug. 5, the popular transgender activist and streamer on the website Twitch was awakened by heavily armed officers from the London Police Service at her downtown residence.

They were responding to emailed threats against city hall from a person claiming to be Sorrenti.

“I told them it was a swatting attempt,” Sorrenti recalls, but officers still arrested her and seized her phone and two computers.

"Swatting" involves making a false threat that will draw a large tactical police response to an unsuspecting victim’s home.

With more than 40,000 followers on Twitch — where she’s known as Keffals — and 110,000 followers on Twitter, the 28-year-old Londoner uses her online platform to speak out about transgender issues.

She was later released without charges, but the seized items remain in the possession of police pending analysis.

As an online streamer, her income relies on computer access.

“I spent around $4,500 replacing all of our computers because they left me unemployed by doing this,” she explains. “My main Twitter account, I can’t access it, because it uses a two-factor authentication app that’s on the cell phone.”

In a written statement, London police tell CTV News London, “Ms. Sorrenti was arrested as the investigation progressed, and later released without charges pending analysis of electronic devices seized. This investigation is ongoing, and at this point in time we cannot provide a firm date as to when it will conclude.”

London police have not yet addressed several concerns raised by Sorrenti about her treatment while in custody.

She claims an evidence bag that stored some of her personal items at police headquarters was returned with her "dead name" — which refers to the birth name of a transgender person who has legally changed it — written across the bag in large black letters.

“Instead of police helping me, they victimized me,” she says.

“The police officer who arrested me asked me if I went by my dead name,” Sorrenti recalls. “Then later as I was en route to the [police] station, she actually asked me what a dead name was, so now I’m educating the SWAT team that arrested me on trans issues.”

Sorrenti is looking for a new place to live, fearing that staying at the same downtown address might lead to another swatting.

“The person who wrote the email was motivated [by] hating trans people, and they wanted to get the police to humiliate me, and they were successful at that,” she says.

Sorrenti adds that it’s not the first time she has been targeted by a swatting.

She says on July 31 she received a telephone call from Toronto police warning her that she was the subject of an alleged swatting attempt at an address in that city.

On Tuesday, London police spoke with Sorrenti.

“They sent members of their hate crime division to talk to me, and they seem to have acknowledged it was a swatting, but they said they do not know when I will get my possessions back,” she says. Top Stories

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