Kelly Thomas Death Spurs 'Anonymous' Hackers To Action
Self-proclaimed "Anonymous" hackers have just released a video threatening the Fullerton Police department with a site-wide shutdown if certain demands aren't met. Called "Operation Fullerton," (#OpFullerton), the hackers are demanding that the officers involved in the beating of homeless man Kelly Thomas be prosecuted, that the Fullerton Police Chief resign, and that $5 million be awarded to Thomas' family.
If these demands aren't met, the hackers threaten to bring down the Fullerton Police Department's website and destroy all of its communication channels.
The newly published video is basically a recitation of this August 5th statement released by people who claim to be affiliated with the worldwide hacking network. While the letter lists the officers allegedly involved in the death of Thomas, The Huffington Post confirmed with police spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Goodrich that the Fullerton Police Department has not released these names. Goodrich maintains that any names that are "out there" come from dubious sources and are not confirmed.
Both the letter and the video compare the city of Fullerton to the Biblical cities Sodom and Gomorrah because of its "broken moral compass." "Anonymous" also calls the $900,000 offered to Ron Thomas (Kelly's father) "hush" and "blood money."
Ron Thomas told the OC Weekly that he does not condone the cyber threats, saying "we’re not going to do anything that’s violent or illegal." Instead, he encourages his son's supporters to visit the Kelly Thomas Memorial Fund and keep on peacefully protesting at the Fullerton Police Department on Saturdays.
While the date of the threatened cyberattack has come and gone without incident, Fullerton Police are still on high alert.
From an official police statement:
There has been a cyber-threat made against the City of Fullerton’s and the police department’s electronic communication system. We believe this threat was received in relation to the death of Kelly Thomas in July. Our citizen’s may be denied Internet communications with the city and police. However, city services including police and fire will continue to operate as usual.
We are in the midst of several independent investigations related to the Kelly Thomas incident, and if officers are found to be culpable, they will be held accountable. However, we have to wait for the investigations to be complete.
Kelly Thomas was a 37 year-old homeless man suffering from untreated schizophrenia living in Fullerton, California. On July 5, Fullerton police officers were responding to reports that a man was breaking into cars at a local bus depot. When police tried to search Thomas' backpack, he resisted and it took several minutes for officers to subdue him. Five days later, he died of the injuries he sustained during the altercation with the police. Fullerton police are still investigating the incident. Meanwhile, audio of the fight has surfaced, as well as video of eye witness accounts retelling what happened in vivid detail.
Yesterday, hackers claiming to be affiliated with "Anonymous" broke into the Bay Area Rapid Transit website and posted the private user information of more than 2,000, reports the Associated Press. The action targeted Bay Area Rapid Transit officials who blocked cellphone service last Thursday to prevent people from organizing a protest of a recent fatal shooting by police.
This report was updated to include background on the death of Kelly Thomas.