January 31, 2012

The System

Richmond cop's Twitter comment attacking Internet hackers draws anger, criticism

by Karl Fischer

As originally posted: San Jose Mercury News
January 31, 2012

RICHMOND -- A Richmond police officer is facing criticism and anger Monday for a Twitter comment he made about Internet hackers.

Angry posts on the Facebook pages of the Richmond Police Department and the Contra Costa Times are criticizing the officer for his Jan. 26 tweet about a hacker attack on the Ultimate Fighting Championship website.

"Get those hacking (expletive). I'm a cop in the bay area CA. (sic) I would go at them with both guns!" Richmond police Sgt. Mike Rood wrote via Twitter to UFC President Dana White.

The hacker group Anonymous and its supporters viewed the comment as a criminal threat, and called for the department to punish Rood.

"In his tweet, he expresses his desire to use firearms to deal with problematic people," several posters wrote on the Contra Costa Times' Facebook page, apparently copying a form letter. "I fear for the safety of the citizens of Richmond after seeing such irresponsible action displayed by one of its very own police officers."

Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan would not confirm the identity of the officer, citing state privacy protections, or discuss

particulars of the case. He said the department received a flood of complaints beginning Monday evening.

"We are well aware of the response people have had to the situation," Gagan said. "We are opening an investigation, and we will get to the bottom of it. If there were policy violations, we will deal with it appropriately."

Rood's tweet apparently referenced an attack by a hacker group last week on the UFC website.

The UFC is a sports organization that promotes professional mixed martial arts fights, and has aggressively pursued piracy in the courts, according to mmajunkie.com, a site that promotes mixed martial arts.

Recently, the UFC site published an editorial supporting the controversial anti-piracy bills SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP). In response, hackers defaced the site and publicized the personal information of White, including phone number, Social Security number and current and past addresses.

However, a Las Vegas woman who does not know White told FOX 5 Vegas last weekend that her telephone number and address were apparently included in that file, and she received more than 500 harassing phone calls.

In an interview posted Jan. 26 on mmajunkie.com, White said, "I said a couple years ago piracy is a serious issue to us, and we are going after it guns a blazin.'"

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