Cyberactivists associated with Anonymous say they plan to publicly identify the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown over the weekend, and they also promised to release emergency dispatch recordings related to the killing this afternoon.
The promise to reveal the name of Brown's killer—which St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar has refused to divulge over fears for the officer's safety—was confirmed by Mother Jones' Josh Harkinson in a fascinating piece on Anonymous' "justice ops":
I traded emails last night with one of the half-dozen core Anonymous members working on Operation Ferguson, as the group's effort to pressure and shame the local police department is known. They were still working to verify the identity of the shooter. "I can only tell you that our source is very close personally to the officer who killed Mike Brown, and that this person is terrified to be our source," said the anon, whom I will call Fawkes. He added that the source "reached out to us, we did not seek out this person."
Harkinson's source said that anon members were firmly united behind the group's recent efforts in Ferguson:
It has been a busy few days for Operation Ferguson. The hackers shut down the city's website for a few hours on Sunday night and Tuesday morning, posted the home address and number of police chief John Belmar, and dropped an email bomb that crammed city and police inboxes with junk messages. The goal was "to get journalists like you to do interviews with us, and incidentally maybe talk about the issue at hand in the process," Fawkes told me. "Looks like it worked."
Early this morning, the allied Twitter account @TheAnonMessage announced that it had access to emergency response recordings related to Brown's death:
But its release has been marked by technical delays.
As Harkinson and I have pointed out, not all of Anonymous' previous plans in #OpFerguson have gone over well. Yesterday, @TheAnonMessage backed off of a plan to dox the police chief's daughter after an online backlash.
"We are not exactly known for being 'responsible,' nor for worrying overly much about the safety of cops," Harkinson's Anonymous source told him. "After all, they have vests and assault weapons. I think they can look after themselves. This is psychological and information warfare, not a love fest."