Philando Castile was murdered by police officer Jeronimo Yanez on July 6, 2016. On June 16, 2017, Yanez was acquitted on all charges. Those mourning the loss of Philando Castile, those outraged by the acquittal of Yanez, and those wishing to change or abolish the racist and destructive law enforcement apparatus, stood up, spoke out, and struck back. The most visible examples were the freeway occupations where community members came together to be side by side in their grief and to disrupt business as usual.
Others also rose up – across the state, the country, and the world – fighting where they stood and adding their voices to the outcry. One such voice was that of the hacktivist, “Vigilance.” Vigilance disrupted a different highway, the “information super highway,” by accessing State-run websites. On May 22, 2018, Cameron Crowley was indicted by the US Federal Government, accused of being the hacktivist Vigilance, and charged with Intentional Access to a Protected Computer, Intentional Damage to a Protected Computer, and Aggravated Identity Theft.
While, at this time, we do not if or how Crowley was involved in Vigilance’s actions, we know the following to be true:
- Vigilance’s bold actions were taken in solidarity with the movement to end police violence. Any time the case is discussed, this struggle should be centered. Damage to a computer or disruption of someone’s day both pale in comparison to the legacy of police murder.
- In early news reports, computer security expert Mark Lanterman confirmed that if Vigilance had “malicious intent,” the hacks could have been much worse. This suggests that Vigilance was not acting to cause harm, but rather to draw attention to the injustice of Castile’s murder and Yanez’s acquittal.
- US Code, Section 1030, under which Crowley is charged, is over-broad. The statute equates principled hacktivism with harm-causing ransomeware and cyber-warfare.
- In our increasingly computerized world, principled hacktivism – including cyber-civil disobedience – is an important tool for change whose use will only grow. The consequences for cyber-civil disobedience should be no more severe than those for traditional civil disobedience, and hacktivists should have the support of broader movements for social justice.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Vigilance. As such, we also stand in support of Cameron Crowley who, whether involved or not, is the one facing repercussions for actions taken in the struggle to end police violence. We know that power concedes nothing without a fight. We know that we are fighting one fight with many fronts. We know we are all stronger when we stand together.
(To have your name added to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org. An updated list of signatories will be viewable at: supportcameron.blackblogs.org/support-statement. Individuals listed with a group affiliation for identification purposes only and should not indicate the position of the group.)
Cameron Crowley Support Committee
Minnesota based Organizations:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR)
Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice (TCC4J)
Showing Up for Racial Justice – Minnesota (SURJ MN)
Anti-War Committee (AWC)
Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB)
Minneapolis Catholic Worker
Anon anarchist action a(A)a
The Tilted Scales Collective
Water Protector Legal Collective
Water Protector Anti-repression Crew
Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee (STARC)
Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross (BABC)
Fight Toxic Prisons ( FightToxicPrisons.org )
Austin ABC (ATX ABC)
Chicago Anarchist Black Cross
Jesse Mortenson (I-94 arrestee and software/developer engineer)
Ricardo Levins Morales
Charlie Thompson (I-35 Arrestee)
Andrew Paul Curwick
Nash (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Michael Novick, ARA-LA (formerly of the Pacifica Foundation)
Joshua Harper (former SHAC7 defendant)