Did an Amazon Echo Call 911 During a Domestic Assault? [VIDEO]

July 13, 2017 8:10 AM
Authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico say they arrested a man for allegedly beating and threatening to kill his girlfriend after the voice-activated speaker device Amazon Echo called 911.

On July 2nd after a multiple hour-long standoff with Swat Team, Eduardo Barros was arrested at a home in Tijeras, according to Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Deputy Felicia Romero.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit and criminal complaint from the sheriff’s department, Barros and his girlfriend were “house sitting” for her parents when the alleged assault began with the girlfriend getting a text message. Barros was convinced that she was cheating on him and “stated he was going to kill her if she called the cops”.

After hearing Eduardo Barros say “Did you call the sheriff?”, an Amazon Echo device in the home apparently interpreted it as a command to call 911. 

The complaint said, “When 911 called (the victim’s) phone, Barros saw the caller ID and threw (the victim) to the floor. Barros then kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach”
What isn’t crystal clear though is how 911 operators knew to call the alleged back on her cell phone since she didn’t live there. 

In a statement provided to CNN from Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III read “The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life. This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation”

Amazon Echo devices usually only respond after the word “Alexa” is used first but can be set up to respond to other phrases.  Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Deputy Felicia Romero claims that the Echo called 911, even though the criminal complaint on file described the device as “Alexis” and a “Google Smart Radio”. 

In email to Fox News, Amazon though is disputing this claim as they say “Alexa calling and messaging does not support 911 calls.” 

According to the online shopping giant’s website, The Amazon Alexa, or Echo, can make calls only if the user syncs their contacts with the Alexa App. The Sheriff Department stands by their claims that Alexa called 911 on its own.

Being currently held without bond, Eduardo Barros is currently facing 14 charges, including false imprisonment, aggravated battery against a household member and possession of a firearm by a felon.

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