A group of hackers and activists that calls itself “Anonymous” was suspended from Twitter Thursday after it published the wrong name of a man it believed to be the police officer that shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The hacker group published the name, which The Daily Caller will not circulate, early Thursday.
— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014
The group held off for several hours in order to ensure that the name it had uncovered was correct.
We don’t want to be responsible for someone’s life being screwed over. — TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014
Approximately two hours later, the collective tweeted the name. The message went viral, gaining over 9,000 retweets. Besides the man’s name, users tweeted his address, phone number and pictures of him on Facebook.
But according to Joel Currier, a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis County police said that the shooter was not the man named by Anonymous. A man by that name does not work for the Ferguson police or St. Louis County police, the department claimed.
Ferguson police also said that the name published by Anonymous was not the shooter, according to CNN.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 14, 2014
The St. Louis County Police Department responded to Anonymous’ outing, tweeting “Do not release more info on this random citizen.”
At around noon Thursday, Anonymous’ twitter account had been suspended.
The activist hacker group may have published the identity of a communications specialist at the nearby St. Ann Police Department. St. Ann’s police chief and the employee did not immediately return TheDC’s request for comment.
Ferguson and St. Louis County police have closely guarded the identity of the officer who shot Brown on Saturday. Protesters, including civil rights leader Al Sharpton, have called for the release. Ferguson police planned to release the name on Tuesday but reversed the decision, citing threats of violence.
According to Ferguson police, Brown assaulted the officer and attempted to take his weapon. Witnesses claim that Brown was surrendering when he was shot.