Man gets 18 months for hacking Missouri police union website

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A man has been ordered to spend a year and a half in federal prison on for a cyberattack that disabled a St. Louis-area police union’s website during unrest related to last year’s Ferguson police shooting death of Michael Brown.

Thirty-three-year-old Justin Payne was sentenced Monday in St. Louis. That’s where he pleaded guilty in September to a felony count of possessing an unregistered firearm and a misdemeanor count of damaging a protected computer.

Investigators say the unregistered firearm was a crude incendiary device commonly called a Molotov cocktail.

Payne allegedly used Twitter accounts to unleash the December 2014 cyberattack that overwhelmed the St. Louis County Police Association website. They say his actions were part of “Operation Ferguson,” an effort in support of protesters of the Brown shooting.