A family recently targeted by a prank 911 call is voicing displeasure with swatting and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies in a complaint filed less than 24 hours after the family was handcuffed on its front lawn.
Stevenson Ranch resident Alexander Fedorov filed the complaint Friday, which he said details incidents of alleged misconduct by the deputies who responded to his home Thursday night.
The situation began in response to a call stating an individual had shot his dad, had an assault rifle and was holding a hostage in a home on the 25800 block of Anderson Lane, according to Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station. The scene was cleared around 10 p.m., but not before numerous Sheriff’s Department vehicles had “staked out around the house.”
Miller originally reported nobody was home when the house was cleared, but said Friday there were residents inside, while dozens of deputies were outside preparing a response to the reported hostage situation occurring in the usually quiet residential neighborhood.
Miller said the complaint in regard to Thursday’s response would not be released while it’s under investigation, per department policy.
“When we got the call, this was the information we were given and this is what we have to prepare for,” Miller said. “Thankfully, that night, everything turned out to be a hoax, but we have to take all necessary precautions, so we have to treat everything we receive as real until it’s proved otherwise.”
Swatting situations can be very dangerous because officers don’t know what they’re getting into, “But our mission is public safety and keeping the community safe,” Miller said. “Being prepared for whatever situation we get into is part of keeping that mission.”
However, Fedorov, who lives in the residence that was targeted Thursday evening, said this isn’t the first time a similar situation has happened to his family, which is only part of the reason why he felt filing a complaint was necessary.
“It all began at the beginning of last year with pizza delivery pranks,” Fedorov said. “There were a lot of them and we reported it to the sheriffs once … We reported it to the sheriffs twice… and they just kept offering empty promises.”
The pizza delivery pranks would stop for a time, according to Fedorov. But the unwanted pizza deliveries would soon begin again, “and on Oct. 16, 2018, we had a bomb threat, so we were dragged out of the house and had to deal with that whole mess.”
After his house was cleared for a bomb, Fedorov said he was promised by sheriff’s officials that the situation would never happen again and that they’d put a note in the system stating pranks commonly happen ever since Fedorov’s 11-year-old son was hacked online and had his PayPal account, passwords and other personal information stolen.
Fedorov said Friday he thought the bomb threat would be the worst of the pranks until he underwent last week’s ordeal.
Miller said Monday she was unable to access the files necessary in order to verify Fedorov’s report of the incident.
“My wife and her visiting 60-year-old mom from Russia — who doesn’t speak English — was about to walk out the front door to hike before they were blinded and heard deputies yelling at them through the P.A. and helicopter,” Fedorov said. “I looked to see my wife and her mom raising their hands in front of the cops and helicopters, so I assumed it was another bomb threat.”
Having been through this before, Fedorov said, “I voluntarily walked from my desktop, put my robe on and walked outside myself just to avoid any misunderstandings and to be cooperative as possible.”
After seeing his mother-in-law, who doesn’t understand English and has never been in an altercation with police, was in shock at the sight of the guns, lights and yelling, Fedorov said, “I yelled: ‘She doesn’t speak English,’ twice. And yet the female deputy on the P.A. was still barking orders loudly and disrespectfully.”
After getting outside, Fedorov said he raised his hands and waited for deputies to take him, his wife and her mom into custody.
“Not only did they put the (handcuffs) on all of us, they put us on our knees in front of our neighbors — in front of our house — like a dog. I can’t think of an event that would warrant this humiliation,” Fedorov said. “It was such an embarrassing situation. There’s no words to explain how we felt being put on our knees like a criminal.”
Fedorov said he immediately began asking to speak to somebody in charge so he could explain how frequent pranks like this happen, “but I was just ignored and put in the back of the car.”
He added, “The handcuffs were so tight (that) my wrist are still bruised and my hands were purple.”
Fedorov’s 11-year-old son Chris Silantyev was still inside playing on the computer Thursday night while members of his family were detained outside.
“I was playing games when I saw a helicopter, and I thought they were screaming my name,” Silantyev said, mentioning he called 911 and was redirected to the Sheriff’s Station.
“I heard: ‘Christian come out of the house,’ and I kind of put my hands up in the window,” Silantyev said. “I dropped my phone and walked backwards like I was told. Then they handcuffed me, and they put me in a car in my underwear.”
“Imagine an 11-year-old boy in front of all the neighbors handcuffed in his underwear,” Fedorov said. “He will have this experience hang with him for a lifetime.”
Miller added Monday, “Whether it be school threats or lockdowns, sometimes people might be alarmed by how deputies respond, but we always want to be prepared.”
Fedorov said he wasn’t upset by the Sheriff’s Department’s initial response, but instead by how he was treated by deputies at the scene.
“I was the last one to be released, so I started demanding the deputies to identify themselves, but they just ignored me,” the local resident said. “Then, I start asking to speak with somebody in charge and the sergeant told others not to waste their time.
“It was so rude and unprofessional,” Fedorov said, “I called them all dogs (because) telling deputies to not waste their time on a victim of the situation is crazy. I’m a taxpayer. Don’t they work for us?”