In its creepy computer-automated voice, the hacker group Anonymous released a very clear message to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Ferguson City Police on Wednesday, “If you abuse, harass or harm in any way the protesters in Ferguson we will take every web-based asset of your departments and governments offline.”
“That’s not a threat, it is a promise,” the voice added.
Well, it appears Anonymous is keeping to its word because on Thursday it released on Twitter the name of the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old from Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, last Saturday night.
(GunsAmerica is not going to publish the name of the officer because the case is still being investigated and GunsAmerica doesn’t know all the facts of the case or whether the use of force was justified. That said, based on an eye-witness account of the shooting that suggest Brown was surrendering while he was shot, it doesn’t look good for Missouri police.)
Now, unless law enforcement in Missouri responds to Anonymous’s call for a cessation of the alleged brutality against protestors rallying in support of Brown’s family, its going to release photos, addresses, and personal documents of the officers involved in the shooting.
— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014
To make its case against police, Anonymous shared the following video on its Twitter account:
It should also be noted that there was looting going on in the wake of the Brown shooting. That doesn’t excuse police brutality against demonstrators, if it is indeed taking place, but it does explain why there is a strong police presence in Ferguson. Law enforcement must do its best to maintain order, keep the peace, protect private property but also respect the First Amendment rights of protestors. Failure to do either in a competent and respectful manner will result in continued chaos and civil unrest.