Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous “hacktivist” movement have claimed responsibility for knocking the city of Cleveland’s government website offline. Known as Operation Tango Down, the cyberattack, just the latest to be added to the group’s growing resumé, comes in response to the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was killed by police after he pointed a toy gun in their direction.
Rice died in an Ohio hospital Sunday, just a day after a rookie police officer shot the boy outside a city recreation center. A police spokesman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the officer, whose name has not been released, opened fire after watching the boy pick up what appeared to be a firearm, put it in his pants, then pull it out of his waistband. Police then determined the weapon was actually an airsoft gun, a finding that has infuriated much of Cleveland and now attracted Anonymous’ attention.
“This rookie officer apparently was not trained,” said a member of Anonymous in a video announcing a hack was underway. “The police department he works for is to blame for this lack of appropriate training. Officers are equipped with many nonlethal options such as Taser guns. Why did he not use a Taser on this child?”
Operation Tango Down has yet to result in the identification of any police officers, as was the case during the Ferguson, Missouri, protests and in an unrelated ongoing attack on Canadian police. The first victim of the cyberattack, though, was the city of Cleveland’s website.
â€” Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) November 24, 2014
What exactly the group aims to achieve wasn’t immediately clear. Just years after Anonymous first made headlines for its widespread attack on the Church of Scientology, it has put together a lengthy resume filled with examples of involvement in controversial events.
The hackers, who typically congregate in small groups operating under the universal Anonymous banner, were heavily criticized earlier this year when they inserted themselves into the Ferguson confusion following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. That came after a number of other events, including the investigation of a high-profile rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which the group was accused not of facilitating social justice, but complicating it unnecessarily.