International hacker group Anonymous is targeting the Cincinnati Police Department after a tragic shooting took the life of Paul Gaston.
Here’s the backstory:
911 records show a woman (who was later identified as Gaston’s girlfriend) called the police on a man with a gun in their neighborhood. Police responded to the call, and upon arrival asked the suspect to lay down and obey their orders. The 37-year-old victim then allegedly pointed an air soft gun at officers when he was gunned down, Fox19 reports.
The three officers who were involved in the shooting, Zachary Sterbling, Eric Kohler and Scott McManis, are on administrative leave, per protocol, while the incident is being investigated by the authorities.
And that’s where Anonymous stepped in.
The cyber group declared war on the Cincinnati Police Department claiming they were less successful de-escalating this situation only because of race.
The group members cited an incident one day before this shooting, where a white man Christopher Laugle also waved a fake gun at police in Cincinnati, and lived to face his day in court.
The group blasted the CPD, threatening to release the personal data of police officers in the department if the policemen involved in the shooting weren’t brought to justice.
Cincinnati police Chief Issac responded to the threats in a statement saying, “We take all threats seriously and will be investigating any potential criminal activity connected.”
But that didn’t stop Anonymous from leaking private information about 52 members of the police department.
The personal information included names, ages, street addresses, email addresses, and social media accounts of the officers–including the names of their family members, Cincinnati.com reports.
The CPD stands by its initial claim, explaining the situation involving Laugle was totally different. Laugle’s toy gun apparently had bright orange markings on the barrel (which indicates it’s a toy).
But the hactivist group stands by its declaration that racial bias was present in the death of Gaston.
For Ohioans and Black Americans alike, this story triggers memories of John Crawford’s death, a man gunned down for having a gun in a Wal-mart store that sold guns, and the shocking death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy playing with a fake gun at the park.
The hurt surrounding this case may stem from past trauma that has yet to be healed in similar stories.
Unfortunately, the two cases involving Christopher Laugle & Paul Gaston cannot be compared, simply because there were totally different individuals and circumstances involved. While further investigative work should be done, it’s hard to draw a parallel between these unique cases just because they happened to both involve a fake gun.
What do you beauties think, has Anonymous gone too far? Or is their response appropriate?