Manteca Police are taking threats seriously that have been made by a Modesto-based anarchy group to take down the department’s public access website.
Police Chief Nick Obligacion noted that the city’s information technology personnel have been placed on alert and are monitoring the situation.
“We view it as a valid threat,” the chief said.
The threat was posted Dec. 18, 2012 on YouTube.
A computer generated voice on the two minute and 46 second video demands the removal of Manteca Police Officer Josh Moody from the force. The officer was involved in the fatal shooting of Ernesto Duenez Jr. on June 8, 2011 during an encounter in the 200 block of Flores Avenue. The computer voice - that appears at times coming from an image of a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask used by the loosely associated hacker group calling itself “Anonymous” - states if the officer is not removed they will attack the Manteca Police website.
Anonymous groups in the past have taken credit for launching cyber attacks that included taking down government websites in the United Kingdom to defacing other sites ranging from government agency public access sites to those of corporations. They also have taken credit to hacking individual Internet accounts such as those with Twitter.
The Manteca Police Department’s public website is not connected to the one used by the department for internal communication for officers as well as various computer generated police reports. Instead, it is a public access site that allows citizens who are victims of crime to communicate with police. It also provides safety information for residents including access to the Megan’s Law website profiling registered sex offenders in neighborhoods plus crime statistics and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
The shooting was ruled “legally justified” by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s investigators based on their review of evidence including a dash cam in the officer’s vehicle that captured the shooting. A $25 million lawsuit is pending in federal court.
The anonymous video includes six seconds of the 26-minute plus shooting video that the Duenez family posted on YouTube. It also includes two other clips of other police-suspect incidents from other departments. It also makes a reference to a Modesto Bee story published on Dec. 17, 2012 stating that “even in an average year” police in California are involved in 100 fatal shootings.