On Sunday night, the network of hactivists known as Anonymous released an impassioned video demand for justice in the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri. But a specific Anonymous threat against county Police Chief Jon Belmar this afternoon backfired in a big way.
Amid street unrest and massive police action in Ferguson today, Anonymous' #OpFerguson campaign took a serious turn when the hacktivists addressed the police department's reluctance to swiftly identify the specific police officer who had shot Brown, 18, repeatedly as he held his arms up in the middle of a Ferguson street.
Media outlets, activists, and the Brown family's attorneys immediately called foul on the police department for not identifying that shooter, who could face civil or criminal action for his role in Brown's death. In solidarity, one Anonymous account made a specific threat tied to the release of that information:
A subsequent tweet suggested Anonymous was not kidding around.
The threats, however, brought a swift backlash from other Twitter users, who failed to see the fairness in potentially exposing Chief Belmar's daughter to scrutiny.
Importantly, other users purporting to be connected with Anonymous—which is not an organized group—were not united in supporting that @TheAnonMessage's tactics. (Update: A reader informs us that @AnonRelations is known in the community as an anti-Anonymous troll account):
Apparently, that onslaught convinced @TheAnonMessage to rethink its strategy:
Thereafter, the account's users attempted to articulate their position: