Popular gaming YouTuber and streamer Desmond “Etika” Amofah was detained by Brooklyn Police this afternoon after allegedly threatening to harm himself as 19,000 viewers watched him live on Instagram via his phone. A police representative told Kotaku he is on his way to the hospital.
The stream of the incident lasted about 45 minutes, beginning with Amofah talking to the police and culminating with them escorting him out of his Brooklyn apartment.
During the stream, which led to “Etika” trending worldwide on Twitter, Amofah alternated between pointing his phone camera at himself in his apartment and out the window to a street filled with at least three police cars and blocked by yellow caution tape. While it was sometimes hard to hear what police were saying, Amofah continually described himself as “scared,” even as members of his livechat suggested he comply with police. He said they removed his door handle and he held it aloft. The door eventually cracked open and what looked like a SWAT team complete with a riot shield came in. Amofah was asked to put his shoes on and escorted out.
Amofah built a following over the years for his love of streaming about games, particularly ones by Nintendo. In October, he uploaded pornography to his YouTube channel, which apparently resulted in its deletion. Afterward, Amofah posted a cryptic message on Reddit: “And now, it’s my turn to die. I love you all.” He later apologized for the confusing move on Reddit: “I’m sorry for worrying all of you,” he wrote.
A Newsweek report published earlier today before the police incident described Amofah as struggling with mental health issues for months. In April, he said on Twitter that he was about to shoot himself. Days later, Amofah posted a photograph of himself holding a gun, which ex-girlfriend and fellow streamer Alice Pika said was faked. Last night on Twitter, where he has nearly 300,000 followers, Amofah had been posting frantic messages, including some slurs, for hours.
YouTuber Sky Williams, who apparently considers himself a friend of Amofah’s, realized he was blocked by the YouTuber today. “There is no combination of letters to describe how terrible I feel seeing this screen,” he wrote. “People keep waking me up because Etika continues to exhibit frightening behavior but I can’t do anything at all now and I’m sorry I couldn’t get through to him.”
On an Instagram today, Amofah livestreamed himself interacting with police officers attempting to enter his apartment after a concerned fan called 911 around 2:10 p.m, a police representative confirmed.
Pika told Kotaku that “since he posts photos of him with weapons, it explains why there were so many cops there, because fans were scared he was going to kill himself. But those photos were fake, photoshopped guns on his image.”
Pika added, “I was never scared for his life today because I trust in him and the NYPD to safely take him to the hospital. Even last night, I wasn’t worried for his life.”
Thousands of fans watched as a police entered Amofah’s apartment, seizing him and removing him from the space. A representative from the NYPD confirmed to Kotaku that he was taken into custody at 2:44 p.m. “He’s got a psych history,” the representative said. When Kotaku asked why the police were called, the rep explained, “He was threatening suicide inside the apartment.” The representative said that Amofah was currently on the way to a Brooklyn hospital shortly before the time of this article’s publication.
After police took Amofah away, his phone continued to stream, its camera pointed at a nondescript part of the room. The viewer count slowly diminished from 19,000 to 13,000 and lower before eventually ending.