WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The hacker group Anonymous claims it has released the identity of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Mo., Saturday.
St. Louis County police later denied that the person named by Anonymous was a police officer in St. Louis County or Missouri, but refused to release any further information.
The group, which also took over the city of Ferguson's websites over the weekend, claims it was able to access the computer systems of the St. Louis County Police Department early Thursday and lift the information the police have refused to disclose.
We don't want to be responsible for someone's life being screwed over.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014
The account promised to release the officer's photo (at 10 a.m. CT), address (at 12 p.m. CT) and the full documents related to the shooting (at 2 p.m. CT) if the St. Louis County Police failed to make an announcement of its own.
WARNING: @stlcountypd by you staying silent, you confirm our name. We're waiting for a response.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014
After waiting several hours, Anonymous tweeted out the name "Bryan Willman, which was denied by the St. Louis County Police.
@TheAnonMessage Bryan Willman is not even an officer with Ferguson or St. Louis County PD. Do not release more info on this random citizen.— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 14, 2014
@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
Police are required to release the names of officers involved in incidents like the one that left Brown dead within 72 hours, unless there is a pressing concern. St. Louis County police said they were keeping the officer's name private because he had received death threats, but the lack of transparency, coupled with an official story of the shooting that contradicts eyewitness accounts and a heavy-handed response to protests, has fueled anger.
(Update, 12:00 p.m. EDT)
Following the announcement, Twitter blocked the main account from which Anonymous was tweeting about Ferguson.