On Friday, a jury found that the cop who shot and killed a black man in the summer of 2016 in Minnesota during a seemingly routine traffic stop was not guilty of manslaughter. The verdict prompted thousands of people to protest in the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota.
A hacker calling himself Vigilance decided to seek justice in his own way, by hacking a database belonging to the Minnesota state government, and stealing email addresses and passwords. The hacker contacted Motherboard on Sunday, claiming the hack and providing a sample of stolen data to back up his claims.
“I thought I had to do something against what I found to be unjust,” the hacker told me. “This was a failure of justice. And his family won’t get the satisfaction of knowing the one who killed Philando is rightly punished. An innocent man died. And a guilty one lives freely.”
The hacker allegedly stole a list of 1,400 email addresses and corresponding passwords that give access to internal databases from the server admin.state.mn.us, which connects to other databases of the sites mn.state.us and mn.gov, according to the hacker.
The Minnesota government’s IT services confirmed the attack.
“Minnesota IT Services is aware of this attack and is investigating the incident,” the agency said in a statement sent to Motherboard on Tuesday. “Minnesota IT Services’ security forensics team will share any relevant information with law enforcement for review for potential criminal activity.”
On July 6, 2016, Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota, pulled over Castile, his partner, and their 4-year-old daughter. Yanez shot Castile seven times when Castile reached for his ID, after telling Yanez he had a gun and was licensed to carry it. The aftermath of the shooting was recorded by Castile’s girlfriend in a dramatic Facebook live video.
Motherboard was able to verify some of the data, such as…