In war, every body down is a casualty, and right now on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, it’s only a matter of time before the next pin drops.
This week, America re-opened the book on race relations in the social sphere of conversation in the country, and the results don’t look good. After just simmering down from the turmoil that emblazened the George Zimmerman trial and its eventual verdict of “not-guilty”, the United States has been clamoring to find rhyme or reason in how a white man could shoot and kill an unarmed black teenager, and get away with it scott free.
Well, wonder no more, because it’s happening all over again. For anyone who’s been out of the loop or doesn’t pay attention to the mainstream media in pursuit of a little peace in their daily lives, last week an 18-year old African American named Michael Brown was shot and killed by an as-of-yet named police officer in St. Louis, MO.
The case has exploded into a series of riots, protests, and looting sprees in Brown’s hometown of Ferguson, and beyond the clear picture of police militarization that has been painted as a result of the public’s (understandable) reaction, it’s obvious that a conversation about cop screening and racial relations needs to come to the forefront of the issue once the initial outrage and reactionary rhetoric of the situation have time to cool into a slow burning ember from the flash fire we’ve seen over the past few days.
Now, the online hacktivist organization Anonymous has entered into the fray, threatening to name the cop who has been put on “administrative leave” (read: paid vacation) until a more viable solution to releasing his identity can be found. Of course, this act in itself has only further fanned the flames of discontent, and hundreds of thousands of users on Twitter have flocked to the account that has offered to put the name out there.
“Operation Ferguson” was first started on the site one day after news of the shooting hit the front page of every newspaper in America, and spent the next two days threatening/promising to release the name of the officer responsible for the heinous act if the department themselves continued to withhold the name in self-interest.
Earlier this morning the group made good on that promise, by hacking into the police department’s computers and obtaining audio files of police dispatches. They sifted through the data, and released what they believe to be the identity of the man who was responsible for shooting Brown in the back multiple times, even after he was already on the ground and begging for his life.
County police responded to Anonymous on Twitter, denying that the man works for St. Louis County or Ferguson police. The department then refused to identify the actual shooter, and asked the group to halt its campaign.
“Do not release more info on this random citizen,” the department said. “We only release suspect information after the investigation is complete and charges have been issued.”
For now both the public and major media outlets are approaching the issue apprehensively, unsure of whether or not the information released is accurate enough to hand down a sentence just yet.