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Trans Twitch streamer arrested by police and "terrorised" after swatting incident

UPDATE: Keffels no longer a suspect in investigation.

UPDATE 12/08/22: Clara "Keffals" Sorrenti is no longer a suspect in this police investigation.

The streamer tweeted the news, stating: "I talked to the Chief of Police of London Police Services and I am no longer a suspect in the investigation. They are now acknowledging this situation as swatting."

A statement from police chief Steve Williams further confirms this. "As a result of further investigation, we do not believe that the threatening emails received by City Hall officials originated with Ms. Sorrenti," it reads.

"We believe there was a deliberate attempt by a third party to place suspicion on Ms. Sorrenti in relation to what are now believed to be false threats to harm people at City Hall. This is sometimes referred to as 'swatting'. With this determination made, Ms. Sorrenti was released unconditionally from custody and all of her belongings have been return to her."

The statement also confirms an investigation is underway to ascertain the origin of the emails.

Williams gives detail on the incident, explaining officers are "specially trained to peacefully resolve high risk situations" but admitting "for the average citizen, having heavily armed police officers attend your residence would be traumatic". He also denies Sorrenti was deadnamed during the investigation.

In a follow up tweet, Sorrenti said she has now raised enough money to be able to move home.

ORIGINAL STORY 11/08/22: 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.

Clara "Keffals" Sorrenti: My life is in danger. I need your help.

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."

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About the Author
Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

Deputy News Editor

Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.