Popular YouTuber IShowSpeed was recently threatened by police with a serious felony charge after calling emergency services during a live stream session.
Darren Watkins Jr., better known as IShowSpeed, saw his beginnings on YouTube in 2016 at merely 11 years old. During the pandemic, the YouTuber made a name for himself in the gaming community via engaging live streams on his YouTube channel. He was also named “Breakout Streamer of the Year” at the 12th Streamy Awards 2022.
Watkins is best recognised for his various live streams in which he mainly plays popular video games, including Fortnite, FIFA, and Roblox.
The young influencer, apart from his streaming activities, gets up to some very controversial and attention-grabbing activities, such as setting off pyrotechnics in his own house and surprising the crowd by appearing as a guest performer at the Rolling Loud hip-hop music festival, all the while streaming to hundreds, if not thousands of viewers.
Here, it makes sense to assume that his many viewers contribute significantly to his content, often mocking the young social media figure and urging him to act absurdly.
The 18-year-old YouTuber experienced a rather startling turn of events during his July 23 live stream. He was playing and live-streaming FIFA 23 when his mother informed him that two police officers had unexpectedly turned up at his home.
During his stream, Speed was prompted to dial 112–the emergency services number in the EU that automatically redirects to 911 within the United States–which led to the police’s intervention.
The YouTuber star was interrogated by the police officers regarding why he had called the number, to which he explained that he had received the number from a friend in the PlayStation Party Chat and was forced to dial that number.
Per his alibi, he had no idea it was meant for emergency services.
The officers then went on to issue a somewhat severe warning to the star, also pointing out that it had already been recorded that the police had warned him not to call 112 or 911 in the past.
The police then strictly warned him of the gravity of the situation, informing him that indulging in such an activity again would constitute a “disruption of public service”, i.e., a felony of the fourth degree, that may result in hefty fines and possible jail time.
According to US law, committing a fourth-degree offence is known to carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail and an obligatory minimum serving time of six months. Any individual accused of a fourth-degree criminal charge may also have to face community control for up to five years and possibly incur fines of up to $5000.
To show respect for the severity of the situation, Speed assured the officers that he regretted his actions and would not repeat his mistake. The entire situation drew a lot of online responses from viewers with varying opinions. Some believed that his response was purely naive and that he shouldn’t be treated too harshly.
Others made suggestions that it was indicative of the type of content he creates and are calling for streaming platforms to make an example out of him.