As pressure against the Fullerton Police Department mounts over the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man, the hacker group Anonymous has vowed to launch a cyber war against the department and any other agency associated with it unless certain demands are met.
“Operation Fullerton” will begin today at “High Noon Pacific Time (3 p.m. EST),” which is when Anonymous will begin hacking the police department’s website, according to a statement posted on Paste Bin just before midnight Friday.
The group demands the prosecution of all six officers involved, the resignation of its chief and a $5 million payout to the family of Kelly Thomas, the 37-year-old man was beaten and tased to death on July 5.
While meeting those demands might take some time, there is no question that releasing the surveillance video that captured the beating can and should be done immediately.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office said it is not releasing the video because it does not want it to taint witness testimony.
But they’ve already interviewed more than 80 witnesses, so that’s not likely to happen.
Meanwhile, Thomas’ father, a retired Orange County Sheriff’s deputy, is waging his own war against the Fullerton Police Department as well as the Fullerton City Council.
He was quietly offered $900,000 to go away, but he refused it. He now plans to sue.
At least two city council members are demanding the resignation of Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers, who didn’t even bother placing the officers on administrative leave until only a few days ago.
More than 300 Fullerton residents crammed a city council meeting this week expressing their outrage and more than a thousand are expected to attend a protest in front of the police department today.
Police initially said they responded to a call of a man breaking into cars on July 5, which is how they came in contact with Thomas.
But even the validity of that call is coming into question, according to Friends of Fullerton’s Future, which has been keeping the closest eye on developments surrounding this case.
Police also said that Thomas had become very combative, but not a single witness account has confirmed this. Most witnesses say Thomas just ran off after being apprehended because was scared. His father said he was most likely off his meds.
Witnesses say six police officers hogtied him and beat him continuously with their knees and taser guns.
Friends of Fullerton has also identified five of the six officers involved as Jay Cicinelli, Kenton Hampton, Manny Ramos, Joe Wolfe and James Blatney.
Cicinelli, whose involvement in the beating has been confirmed by various news agencies, is said to have issued the most vicious beating, even bragging about it afterwards.
Here is Anonymous’ letter in its entirety:
Greetings Citizens of Fullerton, California – We Are Anonymous
Like the rest of the world, we have heard the screams of Kelly Thomas. We heard him scream stop, sorry, and finally dad. Since then we have been rallying troops to help this great cause. Whether it be spreading messages on IRC or tweeting, we have had a great reception from our Anonymous brothers and sisters. This is not just a brutal attack against another human being, but an attack against human rights.
For too long the public has “accepted” the spin from the police. Already they have begun labelling him by publishing documents about his mental illness to sway support towards the police. At the same time, the videos from the cruisers and the surveillance camera, which could instantly alibi their officers is still yet to be released. What is it that they are trying to hide ? Why is it that former Fullerton Police Chiefs sit on the city council ?
Who is it conducting the investigation ? The DA who uses testimonys from the same officers as truth to put criminals in jail. Also, what about the 2008 charges brought against Officer Albert Rincon for sexually abusing two women in the back of his squad car. Ironically enough, the city of Fullerton offered them $7,500 in a settlement. They also offered $900,000 to the father of Kelly Thomas, who rightfully and morally rejected the offer.
This is very unsettling to say the least. It is clear that while the police try to stonewall the public, the city is willing to use tax payer funds as hush, and in this case, blood money. The government of Fullerton, like the city of Sodam and Gomorrah clearly has a broken moral compass, and as such will be smitten from the interwebz as our fleet draws near.
We will begin to treat the web assets of the police, city government – and any other targets we deem in support or a cause of this incident with as much mercy as was shown to Kelly Thomas. He may have been silenced, but his screams will live on forever, and we will join him as Operation Fullerton.
Anonymous and the world hereby make the following demands:
1) We demand the prosecution of Officers Jay Cicinelli, Kenton Hampton, Manny Ramos, Joe Wolfe, James Blatney, and anyone else involved in the gruesome beating, torture, and murder of Kelly Thomas.
2) We demand the immediate resignation of the Chief of Police in Fullerton, California.
3) We demand that the City of Fullerton immediately pay a lump sum settlement of no less than 5 million dollars to the legal survivors of Kelly Thomas.
Until these demands are met, you can expect two things. First your city will be the target of rolling street protests and occupations of public space.
And you can expect Anonymous, we now officially launch “Operation Fullerton”. We will begin dismantling the City of Fullerton’s interwebz starting tomorrow at high Noon Pacific Time. We will remove from the world wide web the site belonging to the Fullerton Police Department located at http://www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/depts/police – and in addition we will Black Fax and E-Mail Bomb every inbox at the Fullerton City Police Department. This cyber action by Anonymous will be accompanied by a protest on the ground tomorrow.
This is only the beginning, we will slowly but surely begin attacking the web assets of the City of Fullerton – until we have dismantled your web and taken from you all your communications channels. And if our demands are still not met, we will widen the circle to include many other web sites and organizations in Fullerton.
We Are Anonymous – We Are Everywhere – We Are Legion – We Never Forget – We Never Forgive – EXPECT US
Last month, 14 members of Anonymous were arrested in connection with the hacking of PayPal, which was done in retaliation for the company suspending payments to the whistle-blower site Wikileaks.
According to Wikipedia, Anonymous has been around since 2003, but didn’t start hacking as a means of activism until 2008.