Crime & Justice

Some Occupy LA members support posting personal LAPD info

An Occupy Los Angeles protester is arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers after LAPD raided the protest campsite in the early hours of Nov. 30, 2011.
An Occupy Los Angeles protester is arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers after LAPD raided the protest campsite in the early hours of Nov. 30, 2011.
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A variety of Occupy Los Angeles organizers say Thursday that they support the actions of “CabinCr3w,” a group of computer hackers that claims responsibility for posting the personal information of more than 40 current and former command staffers with the L.A. Police Department. KPCC broke the story Wednesday. CabinCr3w links itself to “Anonymous” — a large, loosely-knit international ring that’s hacked into government and corporate systems. CabinCr3w has also aligned with the Occupy movement.

Occupy L.A. outreach team member Darren Danks says hackers have posted what he calls “very poignant comments and observations” to his blog and Facebook page.

"Even to the degree of putting on my employ that I went to the anonymous college of ‘hacktivism,'" Danks said. "I left it there to honor them. Obviously that college does not exist.”

Danks says people who support the Anonymous hacking campaign have tried to recruit him; he quickly adds that he’s declined. Still, Danks and other Occupiers don’t condemn what CabinCr3w claims to have done — post LAPD officers‘ private information online for anyone to see, from home addresses to the values of people's homes.

KPCC’s Tami Abdollah was the first to report the story. She described what she found to KPCC’s Larry Mantle.

“Some of the information was just email addresses or their titles, but others they went into the campaign contributions," Abdollah said. "Seven of the people were retired and one of them included actually the former chief Bill Bratton.”

The hackers didn’t, technically, hack into anything. They culled information from public records, as anyone can, and put it all in one listing, via a Twitter message. The group says it did that to protest what it calls the LAPD’s violent oppression when it cleared the Occupy L.A. encampment just over a week ago. Most of the officers whose information the group exposed had nothing to do with that operation.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith says that while none of the online activity is a crime, officers are concerned that it compromises their safety.

“We’ve notified all the officers whose names were posted and we ask them to be extra cautious," Smith said, "and we remind our officers that it’s possible to gather this information from different sites on the Web if we’re not careful and it can be posted — there’s really not a lot we can do about it right now.”

Occupy protesters say the umbrella group Anonymous has protested other incidents, including a Texas family law judge’s apparent use of a belt on his teen daughter widely circulated on a recent YouTube video. Anonymous vowed to take hacking action against officials in the judge’s home county before he agreed to a suspension.

That’s why Occupy L.A. member Danks says people involved in the cyber protest movement, like CabinCr3w, have earned his respect.

"When they engage in actions like that, it’s full unfettered support from our heart," Danks said. "As long as they stay within the legal boundaries ... I am in full support of everything they do.”

CabinCr3w says it will continue to expose the people it considers responsible for dispersing protesters off the lawn of L.A. City Hall. The LAPD counters that it’ll pay close attention.