The personal information of high-ranking police officers from cities across the country is reportedly being leaked online as police forces clash with rioters and protesters in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
The home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of several senior police officials in cities including Washington, Atlanta, Boston, and New York have been published online, according to an unclassified Department of Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press.
“At least one of the police commissioners was targeted for his alleged support of the use of tear gas to disperse protests,” the report says.
Riots as well as peaceful protests have occurred in metropolitan areas across the country since Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, during which time he passed out. His death sparked calls for police reform and evoked memories of other African Americans who have died at the hands of police in recent years.
Some of the officers’ leaked personal information may have already been publicly available, but some may also have come from hacks of their online accounts, according to the report, which goes on to warn that the leaks could result in attacks by “violent opportunists or domestic violent extremists.”
The clashes between police and protesters in recent weeks have resulted in several violent interactions that have fueled criticism of police departments, including the hospitalization of an elderly man who was shoved by police in Buffalo.
Meanwhile, some police officials have objected to what they see as unwarranted vilification of officers.
“We are portrayed in the press and everywhere else as the enemy, and we want people to know that we take our jobs seriously, we’re professional, and the vast, vast majority of the time we act appropriately and honorably and that’s what we do and that’s not being portrayed right now in the media and in the world,” Police Benevolent Association president Mike O’Meara said Wednesday.