In the wake of the tragic death of teenager Mike Brown, the hacktivist collective Anonymous has set its sights on the Ferguson Police Department.
Anonymous issued a statement Sunday saying it is closely watching the police response to the shooting and threatened to hack the city’s computer systems if officers crack down on demonstrators. The group named the campaign #OpFerguson.
"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 off line,” the group warned. “That is not a threat, it is a promise."
"If you attack protesters, we will attack every server and computer you have," the statement reads. The group threatened to "dox" (slang for leaking someone's personal information online) all the officers of the Ferguson Police Department as well as anyone else who "participates in the abuse."
A video version of the announcement was also posted on YouTube.
Anonymous said it has already launched cyber attacks on the city of Ferguson’s servers, according to a tweet on its specialized Twitter account @OpFerguson. The servers collapsed for several hours but were later restored.
Anonymous has also doxed Ferguson Police Chief Jon Belmar. The group published a slew of personal information on the top cop, including his address and several telephone numbers.
On Tuesday, Anonymous, using a different Twitter account, threatened to release personal information about Belmar's daughter unless he reveals the identity of the officer who shot and killed Brown. Ferguson Police have not released the officer’s name.
Jon Belmar, if you don't release the officer's name, we're releasing your daughter's info. You have one hour. #Ferguson
RT so he sees this.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 12, 2014
The threat was later rescinded.
We have recognized that releasing vital information on Belmar's family is damaging to the overall message of justice for Mike Brown.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 12, 2014
We will therefore cease in releasing any more information on Belmar's family. We still continue to demand the release of the officer's name.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 12, 2014
Moments after dropping the threat against Balmer's daughter, Anonymous hinted it was close to identifying Brown's killer.
#OpFerguson is the latest campaign launched by Anonymous. The group’s 2013 #OpSteubenville played a role in bringing to justice two members of the Steubenville High School football team who raped a 16-year-old girl. The online collective leaked video footage of the players openly bragging about the rape.
Fusion was unable to reach the Ferguson Police Department for comment.
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.