Anonymous wants Michigan governor jailed over Flint water crisis

Hacking group Anonymous has set its sights on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who is scrambling to address a drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich.

The loosely affiliated collective of anarchist hackers this week launched a campaign called #OpFlint in a video posted on YouTube.


The goal of the campaign is to gather evidence against Snyder and put him in jail. The governor has been widely berated for his slow response to the emergency in Flint, where lead levels in the drinking water have spiked since officials switched the water source to a local river to cut costs.

The Anonymous video focuses on the widespread reports that children in Flint have developed above-average levels of lead in their blood.

“We currently believe that enough evidence exists to arrest Gov. Snyder for either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, and that a full-scale investigation into the Flint water crisis and a criminal trial will yield the information that will send Gov. Snyder to prison,” says the traditional Anonymous figure, a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and black hoodie.

Snyder this week took responsibility for the situation and pledged to fix the problem.

“You deserve better, you deserve accountability, you deserve to know that the buck stops here with me,” he said in a State of the State address Tuesday night.

Snyder’s office has since rolled out a $28 million plan. The governor has also declared an emergency in the city and deployed the National Guard to help distribute clean drinking water. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in the area, sending out federal officials to assist.

Anonymous did not specify whether it had plans to launch cyberattacks against Snyder or his office. Instead, the video focused on helping spread damning information about his administration.

“We encourage the city of Flint to be vocal and demand that Gov. Snyder face criminal charges,” the figure says. “Anonymous will stand beside you. We will amplify your voice where the mainstream media will surely fail you, as it has in the past.”

In recent years, Anonymous has launched a number of similar campaigns during high-profile crises.

Following the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., the group focused its efforts on outing the police officer responsible. Anonymous-affiliated hackers also attacked various city government websites.

Anonymous has also taken on the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with two high-profile campaigns.

While these targets have brought the group some praise, Anonymous has also been criticized for failing to deliver on promises and for spreading incorrect information.

The group initially outed the wrong Ferguson officer in 2014, and struggled to distance itself from leaked information that claimed prominent members of the Senate were KKK members.

Regardless, Anonymous has vowed to help rectify “every wrongdoing” perpetrated by “Gov. Snyder “and his cronies,” according to the video.

“They have displayed no remorse or guilt,” the figure says. “But it all stops now, because what Gov. Snyder will soon learn is that we do not forgive, we do not forget.”

“The city of Flint deserved better, governor, instead they got a murderer,” the video concludes.