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Anonymous says man shot by RCMP in B.C. was one of its members, vows to 'avenge' him

Anonymous, a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities, says it will use "vengeance if necessary" to seek justice for a man shot dead by police in Dawson Creek Thursday outside a public consultation meeting for the Site C dam.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C., a police watchdog, said the man had his face covered when he was shot by an RCMP officer. It will not comment on whether he was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, widely used by Anonymous, which claims the victim was one of its own.

The refusal to comment comes despite a growing number of online reports and social media chatter linking the victim to the group.

A group called Operation Anon Down posted an Anonymous statement online Saturday calling for justice and vengeance, and posting a list of targets.

The group claimed the man was "the fourth Anon to be slain by security forces" in the past four years, listing deaths in Turkey, Egypt, Palestine and now B.C.

"As in the past, Anonymous will not stand idly by while our own are cut down in mask," said the statement. "We will most certainly avenge one of our own when they are cut down in the streets while protesting the earth wrecking environmental policies of the Canadian government."

It continued to state that the first steps taken would be to identify the police officer and "thoroughly dox him" and release the information on the Internet. A dox is a search for an individual's identifying information.

Other targets posted by the group included the RCMP's national website, the local website of the Dawson Creek RCMP detachment, and a trio of RCMP Twitter accounts.

The RCMP national website and Dawson Creek detachment site were both down Sunday morning, and a Twitter post from Anonymous included an online reporting site showing the servers down.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney's office said it was monitoring the situation, and the Mounties did not respond to questions. The website of Canada's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, was recently taken down by a cyberattack.

IIO spokeswoman Kellie Kilpatrick said investigators with the police watchdog were working with RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service on the case.

When asked whether investigators were also working with CSIS, Kilpatrick said: "No comment."

Operation Anon Down said in a later tweet that the person shot "was part of a First Nation Anonymous cell. RCMP knew this."

Twitter user Jaymack9 tweeted on Thursday afternoon that an Anonymous splinter group was to attend the Site C meeting in Dawson Creek that night.

Earlier that day he tweeted: "Ready 4 our little showdown? Our people r going 2 b in place at that meeting in Dawson Creek."

Jaymack9, who Postmedia News has been unable to contact, hasn't posted anything since Thursday.

The IIO began investigating the shooting early Friday and later that day a video emerged that begins just after police shot the man, who the B.C. Coroners Service has yet to identify publicly

When reached Sunday, Kilpatrick said she had just come from the coroners service and said "the family has probably requested the wait so that they can contact other family members who may be in other places."

Barb McLintock, a coroners service spokeswoman, said the victim's name will likely be released Monday.

Kilpatrick said the man was wearing a mask and had approached officers in an aggressive manner. In a brief interview Sunday she said she would not comment on the mask the man was wearing or disclose who has that mask now. Investigators have not confirmed any link between the social media posts and the incident.

The investigators are primarily interested in the accounts of two officers, said Kilpatrick. The first is the witnessing officer who is obliged to give statements to the IIO. The other is the "subject officer" who shot the man. That officer is not compelled to give a statement. Officers in that position sometimes speak to legal counsel before deciding whether to talk to the IIO, Kilpatrick said.

"I don't know what this subject officer intends to do," she said Friday.

The BC Hydro meeting was the last of five public consultations on the Site C dam held this month. The hearings have attracted protesters -- primarily representing First Nations and environmental groups. Those groups have also filed lawsuits to try to stop construction.

A spokesman for Amnesty International, one of the groups opposed to Site C, said he had never heard of an Anonymous group protesting or attending meetings about the project.

The province granted approval earlier this month for the first phase of construction to start on the $9-billion dam on the Peace River.

The scene of the shooting has been cleared, but IIO investigators remain in Dawson Creek. Kilpatrick said a knife was recovered along with other physical evidence. Several interviews have been conducted with civilians and witness officers, according to the update, and investigators continue to obtain and review video evidence from businesses as well as from members of the public.

Since April 1, there have been six officer involved shootings in B.C., according to the IIO. Four of those were fatal.

The shooting in Dawson Creek happened at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, when RCMP responded to a report of a man creating a disturbance and destroying property at the Site C open house, Kilpatrick said.

Late Friday, Kilpatrick corrected earlier statements suggesting police officers confronted that man outside the building and shot him.

Rather, Kilpatrick clarified, "the gentleman causing the disturbance left the event" and did not encounter the officers.

Instead, when police arrived in response to the disturbance complaint, they came into contact with a different man.

Witness video has since emerged that appears to show the aftermath of the shooting. In a video posted on Facebook, two officers with their handguns drawn stand over a man in a grey hoodie who is slumped on the ground.

"The cops just shot this guy," says the man recording the cellphone video. "He's dead. There's blood everywhere."

One officer appears to kick something away from the man, although the object cannot be seen on the video. The man moves slightly on the ground before becoming still as blood spreads from under his body.

Police appear to handcuff him then check his vital signs before opening the trunk of a cruiser and starting to administer first aid about two minutes into the video.

Several other officers eventually appear. One crouches near a cruiser with a long gun just before the video ends.

[Source: By Matt Robinson and Tiffany Crawford, Postmedia News, National Post, Dawson Creek, 20Jul15]

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