Officials with the City of Longview, TX have confirmed that the city’s website was targeted by hackers last Saturday. Shawn Hara, spokesman for the city, told Longview News-Journal, “The website did go down temporarily, but as far as we are aware nothing was compromised.” YouTube user AnonSec 101, who claims to be a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous, posted the above-embedded video threatening retaliation against the City of Longview following the controversial January 22 officer-involved shooting death of Kristiana Coignard, a 17-year-old girl with a history of mental illness who reportedly brandished a weapon at the Longview Police Department. After the city’s website went down, AnonSec 101 claimed credit for the attack in a YouTube comment, saying, “We would like to say that we did shut down the Longview Texas city website, of course it’s back online, trust us when we say we wouldn’t have made this video if we knew the op wouldn’t be a success.”
According to The Free Thought Project, alleged Anonymous hackers carried out the attack as a part of a campaign called “#OpSLFOC,” which stands for “Operation: Stop Lethal Force on Children,” and were protesting the fact that three police officers opened fire with multiple rounds rather than using less-lethal alternatives on the diminutive, 17-year-old teen girl Kristiana Coignard, who, according to a second-hand rumor reported by Longview Mayor Jay Dean to Marshall News Messenger, may have been brandishing a knife in what Coignard’s aunt characterized as a cry for help.
AnonSec 101 wrote a message in the comments section of the above-embedded YouTube post, which said, “We ask you, Longview police department, are you happy with the choice of actions taken by your officer? We ask you, what kind of people you hire as police officers that can’t take a knife from a small 17 year old girl? We ask you, why are your officers carrying tasers if they will only reach for their guns first? A firefighter will endanger their life and enter a burning building for the POSSIBILITY of saving a life, a lifeguard will risk drowning for the possibility to save a life. But a COP will kill you, OR even a 10 year old child, because you POSSIBLY could have caused them harm.”
Kristiana Coignard’s aunt, Heather Robertson, who lived with her, gave her thoughts on Coignard’s actions at the Longview Police Department in a statement to Think Progress , “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.” Robertson said that Coignard suffered from depression and bipolar disorder and lost her mother at age three.
The three police officers who shot and killed Coignard have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. According to Brietbart, the Texas Rangers have been called in to participate in the investigation.
Police spokesperson Kristie Brian told Longview News-Journal that Coignard approached the Cotten Street police station at 6:28 PM on January 22 asking for an officer. Said Brian, “When police arrived to assist her, that’s when she confronted them. She did brandish a weapon. I don’t know what kind it was. She came at the officers and was shot.” Think Progress notes that police officials say that they do have a video of the incident.
The Longview Police Department posted a statement on Kristiana Coignard’s death on its Facebook page, which said, “On January 22, 2015 at 6:28 p.m., Longview Police were dispatched to the front lobby of the Police Department for an Unknown Problem. When Officers arrived they were confronted by a white female who threatened them. The suspect brandished a weapon, made threatening movements toward the officers and was shot. The suspect was transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center where she were pronounced dead by a Justice of the Peace. The Texas Rangers have been called in to investigate this shooting.”
In 2014, Longview police fatally shot two people, one of whom was 15 years of age. According to Longview News-Journal, grand juries assigned to the cases declined to bring charges against the officers involved in those shootings.