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Meet-ups are fantastic things. When you can meet a group of people that you have communicated with online for sometime, the feeling can be amazing. This is exactly what happened in Washinging, DC, as hundreds of video game and media ethics enthusiasts gathered for a meet-up at the Local 16 restaurant on U Street this past Friday. Colloquially dubbed “GGinDC,” the event had press, academics, developers and hundreds of glorious gamers finally getting to meet each other in real-time. This writer was sadly too poor to attend, but the events looked like a blast.

And this is where that last statement turns into a bad joke.

At approx. 12:15am EST, police arrived at Local 16 to evacuate the premise. According to those on the scene, the authorities told those attending it was for a “fire drill” at first. This changed to reports of a possible bomb threat, with event attendee @matthewhale207 stating he was “told by what appeared to be a ranking officer that it was a “Serious threat.’”

We have reached out to the Washington, DC MPD (Metropoliten Police Department) for comment on this. We have yet to receive a response as of the time of publishing, but we will keep this piece updated with their response.

[UPDATE 3:30pm EST 5/3/2015]: Owen Good of Polygon was able to obtain comment from the DC Metropolitan Police Dept. stating,

“The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington D.C. confirmed to Polygon that officers evacuated the restaurant, Local 16, in response to information received from the FBI. A threat made over Twitter said the building would explode, a police spokesman said.”

[UPDATE 5:54pm EST 5/4/2015]: DC MPD confirms these accounts with us stating,

On Friday, May 1, 2015 at 9:30 pm the Metropolitan Police Department received information from the FBI in reference to an individual posting on Twitter that a bomb would be detonated inside of 1602 U Street, NW (Local 16 restaurant and bar) if the event they were having was not postponed . The establishment was hosting a gaming event.

MPD contacted management at the establishment, and the decision was made by the management to evacuate the location and check for hazardous devices.  The establishment was evacuated and the premises was then swept for hazardous materials with nothing found.

The incident remains under investigation.

Any persons with information about this incident are asked to call police at (202) 727-9099, or by texting to 50411.

Until then, we have witness accounts like this from people who attended the event:

 

This comes after earlier attempts on social media to put pressure on Local 16 to shut down the meet-up. Some even going so far as to call the establishment’s owner, pleaing that they not allow the group to gather at the U Street restaurant and bar.

These two events are unconnected as of this time. There is no solid evidence to support their connection, and I really hope that anyone with half a brain cell would know not to waste the time of Washington, DC police and fire department resources to disrupt an event they disagree with. Until we can get confirmation one way or another, I urge our readers to not assign premature blame to one group or another.

 

 

Who ever did this possibly put lives in danger by distracting police resources from any real events occurring. Besides being illegal, it is just a plain cowardly action, whether by a third party troll or someone who disagrees with those who gathered.

Ben Dalton, @TVTokyoBen on Twitter, had this to say,

“It goes without saying that there was never a bomb, and if anything this highlights how easy it is for someone to cause mass panic [on] events they don’t agree with to go on lockdown”

 

It’s worth a major note, that despite the turn to the evenings events, the attendees to the “GGinDC” meet-up didn’t let their evening get spoiled by the actions of a coward. Local 16 even re-opened after everything was clear with free shots for all, and many friendly conversations about what Gamergate is.

 

This writer is glad that everyone was safe that night, and is proud that they did not let this scare tactic ruin the event. Extra kudos goes out to the folks at Local 16 for allowing the event despite pressure, and their response to the scare.

 

 

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Josh Bray
Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a focus on A/V production. Amateur photographer with a passion to make things work... by any means necessary. Editor-in-Chief and do-er of tech things at SuperNerdLand