A group claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous, the internet hacker activist organization, have essentially declared war on the Texas State Police and the Waller County Sheriff’s Office. The group claimed in a video and ultimatum posted Tuesday online that if Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia was not arrested to face charges for the death of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Illinois woman recently arrested during a traffic stop and found dead in her jail cell three days later, the group would expose the “lies” of Texas law enforcement agencies if their demands were not met.
International Business Times reported July 28 that the Anon Intel Group posted its warning and ultimatum that day, maintaining, “We will not stand as Sandra’s death becomes another hashtag and then a statistic. We, not as Anonymous but as citizens of the United States, are tired of the cycle of murders and cover-ups made by police departments across the nation.”
The group joined Sandra Bland’s family in condemning not just the Texas State Trooper’s actions and the arrest, but seem to support the popular conspiracy theory (convictions that are also held by the family) that Bland did not commit suicide (the official position, backed by a medical examiner report and an autopsy report), which is the official manner of death. The family maintains that she had no reason to commit suicide, having just gotten a job at her alma mater in Texas. Conspiracy theorists and others point to the many discrepancies in videos, Waller County Sheriff’s Office intake documentation, and prisoner control methods that have surfaced since the arrest date.
Anonymous has called for Trooper Brian Encinia’s arrest. Texas officials have placed the officer on administrative leave for violating department protocols in his now infamous encounter with Sandra Bland. “If you do not take Brian Encinia into custody, we will come after all of you,” Anon Intel Group threatened from its website. “All your secrets will be leaked. You will all be vulnerable. We all know where you live.”
Anonymous have become an internet force to be reckoned with, sometimes interceding in situations where the organization has found some form of injustice at play. Last year, after an online threat against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri (during the Michael Brown protests), where a Ku Klux Klan chapter threatened to shoot demonstrators, Anonymous went to work and exposed members of the secretive hate group. In 2013, with expositions of education and government officials from Anonymous offshoot KnightSec, the now infamous Steubenville High School rape case was exposed to the public, setting in motion events that would lead to the prosecution of two high school rapists.
As for the Anon Intel Group, the Anonymous affiliate has called for “a day of rage on August 8th for Sandra Bland” to protest the young woman’s treatment and death at the hands of Texas authorities. The group also called for police chiefs in the cities where demonstrations are held to join the protests and “renew their pledge to protect the people they serve.”