Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous are demanding that a California police department remove an officer from the force after video has surfaced of the cop in question firing at a civilian 11 times at point-blank range.
The Manteca Police Department says that Officer John Moody was in the right when he shot nearly a dozen bullets at Ernesto Duenez Jr. last year, killing the man on the spot. Others aren’t so certain, though.
Duenez, a 34-year-old parolee, led police on a car chase last year after he became wanted for questioning in a domestic violence incident earlier that day, June 8, 2011. When he pulled up to a residence and exited the vehicle, however, Moody fired 11 shots, killing him.
Officer Moody claims the suspect was welding a knife at the time of the encounter, although evidence reveals that the weapon was left in the bed of the truck during the shooting. Despite being unarmed while exiting the vehicle, Moody unleashed nearly a dozen rounds at Duenez, including several in his back as he laid on the ground dying.
Earlier this month, the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office concluded that Moody had been legally justified in killing Duenez, but that decision has been called into question since video of the incident has been published on YouTube in the days since. Rosemary Duenez, the victim’s mother, agreed to release the video after the court decided to clear Moody of the crime.
“As heartbreaking as it is, people need to see what happened,” she told the Chronicle. “They need to know what we see, and what we’re fighting for.”
Now with discussion of the case rekindled by the video, members of Anonymous say they will retaliate for Duenez’s death unless Moody’s role with the police department is terminated.
“Having a badge does not give you legal permission to murder freely,” recites a self-proclaimed member of the hacktivist collective in a video uploaded recently to the Web. “Manteca police department, we demand as a final resort that you disband your corrupted Officer John Moody and serve justice for his despicable act of violence.” Otherwise, the actor warns, Anonymous will wage a cyberattack against the Mantec Police Department, including “a complete shutdown of the official website.”
The victim’s sister, Reyna Duenez, says she was unfamiliar with Anonymous up until the video was released.
"We don't even know who they are," she tells KXTV News. “They're voicing their opinion and that's their right, but we don't condone anything that's illegal."
Members of Anonymous say they will take the website offline, though, unless action is taken against the officer.
"We appreciate everyone's voices being heard and all the support and love that we've gotten, but we don't condone anything illegal done to the police department," Ms. Duenez tells the network. "We want legal action against Officer John Moody; we're not trying to do anything illegal. We want to take the right steps all the way."
The Manteca Police Department tells the Manteca Bulletin that they view the video as a valid threat against the force, but has not identified any persons with alleged involvement.