- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A hacker angered by the recent acquittal of a Minnesota police officer responsible for fatally shooting motorist Philando Castile last summer has taken credit for breaching a state database and leaking stolen user data in response to Friday’s not guilty verdict.

An individual using the alias “Vigilance” contacted Vice’s Motherboard on Sunday to say he or she recently hacked a database belonging to the Minnesota state government and had pilfered and published a list of 1,400 related email addresses and passwords in protest of a jury acquitting former Officer Jeronimo Yanez last week in connection with Castile’s death, the website reported Tuesday.

“I thought I had to do something against what I found to be unjust,” the hacker told Motherboard. “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 state’s IT department confirmed the breach Tuesday and said the incident was under review.

“Minnesota IT Services is aware of this attack and is investigating the incident,” the agency said in a statement. “Minnesota IT Services’ security forensics team will share any relevant information with law enforcement for review for potential criminal activity.”

The stolen data dumped online includes email addresses, encrypted passwords and other personal but not particularly sensitive data purportedly stolen from a server used by Minnesota. Motherboard verified the authenticity of a portion of the data on Tuesday but said it couldn’t confirm whether the information had been stolen from a government server.

Mr. Yanez was employed by the St. Anthony Police Department last summer when he fatally shot Castile during a traffic shot outside of St. Paul. Castile’s girlfriend live-streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, graphically memorializing the man’s dying moments.

Mr. Yanez had been charged with second-degree manslaughter in connect with the incident but was acquitted by a Ramsey County jury on Friday, June 16, following 27 hours of deliberations. He has since parted ways with the city’s police force, the department announced afterwards.

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