Man Charged for Calling 911 to Complain About Amber Alert

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Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) police recently charged a man with mischief for allegedly calling 911 to “tie up emergency lines” in protest over a recent Amber Alert. It’s believed to be the first charge of its kind, according to The Hamilton Spectator.

The alert, issued by Niagara Police, was about five children between five and 14 who were missing. 

Information from the callers who saw the Amber Alert on their cell phones led police to find to a vehicle and eventually the children and their father.

Police across Ontario have often reported 911 complaints after Amber Alerts — an automated warning system that is part of the Wireless Emergency System. Unlike in the U.S., the Canadian mobile alert system transmits all types of messages with the same mandatory code and don’t allow the public to “opt-out” of any mobile alerts. 

Police have been vocal in their criticism of those who call to complain about Amber Alerts. However, this is believed to be the first time anyone has been charged in relation to a 911 call after an Amber Alert, Hamilton Police Const. Jerome Stewart told The Hamilton Spectator.

The 70-year-old man allegedly called 911 at 5:04 p.m., angry about the Amber Alert on his phone while he was trying to rest. The man allegedly said he did not have an emergency and was calling 911 to purposely tie up emergency lines, police said. Douglas Bagshaw, 70, was arrested and charged with mischief. He was released on a promise to appear in court.

November 5, 2019

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