LAPD Sees A Ghost

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The LAPD almost met its match in a late night encounter with a video game statue last week. Note, I said "almost." Here is the rest of the story

What happened?

Polygon.com reports that the LAPD responded to a tripped duress alarm at Los Angeles-based independent game studio Robotoki. A duress alarm is a panic button that can be pressed to alert the alarm company and/or local law enforcement that a situation such as a robbery or burglary is in progress. They are quite common in commercial and industrial settings, especially in LA, which at one time was the commercial armed robbery capital of the country.

So LAPD responds, guns out, ready to stop a threat and while coming up a staircase at Robotoki, they see what looks like a camouflaged figure wearing a skull balaclava, ballistic hard plate armor, and armed with a M4-style carbine staring back at them.

They literally saw a ghost.

Who is Ghost?

LAPD Sees A Ghost - christophereger - modern-warfare-2-cover-1214.png

For those of you who don't know, 'Ghost' is a video game character in the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game. The game, released in 2009 is a first-person shooter that has sold more than 22-million copies worldwide making it the second best-selling game of all time in both the UK and the U.S.

LAPD Sees A Ghost - christophereger - modern-warfare-2-ghost-1213.jpg

"Ghost" is what is known as a non-player character (NPC) that help move the story along and mentor the players through the game. Nominally a member of "Task Force 141" the mysterious former British SAS Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley, wears a skull print balaclava and runs amok throughout the game. Ghost proved so popular that he wound up getting his own comic book (I mean graphic novel) series.

Robert Bowling, former lead of Infinity Ward and Creative Strategist of the Call of Duty franchise, had founded Robotoki. So naturally, they had a life-size statue of Ghost standing in their studio.

LAPD Sees A Ghost - christophereger - ghost-1215.jpeg
(This is what LAPD saw....)

The outcome

Well if you use reasonable objectivity (put yourself in the cop's shoes), it's amazing that the LAPD did not riddle the 'armed subject' with bullets. If you note the statue does not have the muzzle of the M4 pointed outward, but rather is oriented to the ground--, which may have saved the responding officers from having to do a use of force report. It's laudable the level of discretion that these officers displayed in assessing the situation.

But what about the duress alarm? Well it turns out that a bored employee had pressed the button to see if it actually worked and there was no threat at the time.

In the end, the officers stuck around for a bit, and reportedly brushed up on their Call of Duty.

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