Mike Brown Shooter: Anonymous Hackers Threaten Ferguson, Missouri, Police If Demands Aren't Met

  on
Anonymous protester, Guy Fawkes mask
The Anonymous hacking collective has fueled protest movements all over the world and is currently pressing Missouri police to speed up the Mike Brown shooting investigation.

The Anonymous hackers have made good on their threats to disrupt the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, shutting down its website and phone lines for a time and threatening to name the officer who killed Mike Brown if the officials don’t do so soon.

Days after the Brown shooting on Saturday night, in which an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man was fatally shot by a still unidentified (presumably white) police officer, Anonymous posted a video promising to keep an eye on the St. Louis suburb, which has been the site of daily and nightly anti-police demonstrations. Reminding viewers about the recent death of Eric Garner, a black family man, in a police chokehold in New York City, Anonymous warned that if any protesters were harmed the police would quickly find their personal details online.

“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 is not a threat. It is a promise,” the message went on. “We will dox and release the personal information on every single member of the Ferguson Police Department, as well as any other jurisdiction that participates in the abuse. We will seize all your databases and email spools and dump them on the Internet.”

The loosely affiliated hacking collective, which has adopted the mask of 17th-century English terrorist Guy Fawkes as its unofficial calling card, was apparently dissatisfied with the authorities' response, as it took control of the department’s website less than 48 hours after that video was uploaded. City officials haven’t said much, but they told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that traffic aimed at City Hall’s website “just kept coming,” with the page back online after spending much of Tuesday morning in the dark. That description is consistent with a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS, or dox) attack, which occurs when hackers overwhelm a specific server with traffic from an army of unwitting computers.

The threats quickly took on a much darker tone, with @TheAnonMessage, one of the most influential Anonymous Twitter feeds, posting photos of young Brown’s body lying face down in the street.

That disturbing photo was accompanied by messages asking followers what time Brown was shot, a possible indication that hackers were combing through phone and computer records to see which officers were on the scene and most vocal around that time.

Jon Belmar, the recently sworn-in St. Louis County police chief, was also made into a target, with Anonymous posting photos of his family as well as his address and phone number for all to see.

Perhaps most disturbing were links to pictures of a young man who Anonymous claimed was Belmar’s son sleeping on a couch. Another showed his wife and daughter arm-in-arm and, even more, they threatened to release his daughter’s name if the name of the officer who shot Brown was not made public before eventually backing off.

The attention-grabbing tweets have achieved their goal, though, with one member of Anonymous telling Mother Jones that it’s all been an aim “to get journalists like you to do interviews with us, and incidentally maybe talk about the issue at hand in the process.”  

“We are not exactly known for being ‘responsible,’ nor for worrying overly much about the safety of cops,” explained the hacker, identified only by the alias Guy Fawkes. “After all, they have the vests and assault weapons. I think they can look after themselves. This is psychological and information warfare, not a love fest.”

Join the Discussion