Hacker group Anonymous released what it claimed to be the name of the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The group also threatened on Thursday to publish the officer’s photograph and other information if they didn’t get a response from St. Louis County Police Department.
However, St. Louis County police reportedly told St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Joel Currier that the name released by Anonymous is false and is not a Ferguson or St. Louis County officer.
St. Louis County Police also responded to the Anonymous group on Twitter, refusing to release the identity of the officer involved in the shooting.
@TheAnonMessage We will not provide the involved officer's name or any further information. It is an ongoing investigation.
— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 14, 2014
“Do not release more info on this random citizen,” the police department added.
Police in Ferguson have decided against naming the officer involved in the shooting due to concerns for his safety after several death threats were made against him and his family.
The Anonymous group threatened to release a photo of who it claimed was the officer at 10 a.m. CT, his address at 12 p.m. CT and everything else they know about the officer at 2 p.m. CT if they get no response from St. Louis County police, which is overseeing one of the investigations into Brown’s death.
Despite being told by police that the name they released was false, the hacker group released the man’s alleged photo anyway at roughly 10 a.m. CT.
An outraged community has been calling for the name of the officer ever since Brown was fatally shot on Saturday following what police described as a physical altercation. There has been unrest in the streets and a strong police presence in Ferguson ever since, including instances of looting and some violence.
“We only release suspect information after the investigation is complete and charges have been issued,” the St. Louis County Police Department wrote in another Twitter response on Thursday.
Protesters were seen on Wednesday night with firearms and attempting to light molotov cocktails. Police used tear gas and LRADs — long-range acoustic devices — in attempts to disperse demonstrators. There were also several arrests made, including that of two journalists and a St. Louis alderman.
Ferguson resembled more of a war zone than a suburb of a major U.S. city on Wednesday night. See TheBlaze’s comprehensive coverage of the latest demonstrations here.
Around noon E.T. on Thursday, the Twitter account associated with Anonymous was suspended. However, the group put up two backup accounts and called the move “an act of war.”