The online hacktivist group Anonymous is once again in the news, this time for the naming and shaming of a University of California Davis Police officer for what it says was total brutalization of the Occupy campus protestors. The incident caught in its entirety on camera, ended up on YouTube just hours later.
It shows the Police officer later identified as Lt. John Pike calmly stepping over the sat down protesters before turning around and then spraying all of them with pepper spray.
The incident on Friday resulted in nine students being treated at the scene by medical personnel, with two of them hospitalized. The Occupy protesters who were blocking a pathway had previously refused to move, despite calls by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to have the encampment's tents peacefully removed by 3pm due to health and safety concerns.
The resulting backlash as the videos and details spread across the internet over the weekend resulted in UC Davis authorities' apologizing on Monday, announcing that its police chief as well as both of the officers involved had been placed on administrative leave while the matter was investigated.
Anonymous responded by releasing a ten minute long video detailing the incident along with the posting of the police officer's personal details, which included his home address, email, and telephone numbers as well as his full name. The hacker collective spoke directly to the shamed officer in the first minute of the video, proclaiming he should expect their wrath, as well as promises to make him "squeal."
YouTube promptly removed the video, but a follow-up two-minute video remained with a warning for the Police. "The law is clear, and we, Anonymous, have been sending formal complaints and will continue to do so in the future. We also warn you, if you or the rest of the UCD Police continue to use mindless violence on peaceful protesters, more severe countermeasures shall follow," the video said.
UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell responded by saying the release of the officer's personal information was "completely inappropriate." Mark Yudof, UC president also issued a statement, pledging the need "to take strong action to recommit to the ideal of peaceful protest." A little late perhaps, given the damage already caused to those brutally treated whilst peacefully protesting.
Anonymous was recently in the news after publishing the personal details of 16,000 Finnish residents in a bid to embarrass the Finnish government into improving its weak data security.