ST. LOUIS (AP) – December sentencing is set for a man who admitted in federal court that he helped orchestrate a cyberattack that disabled a police union’s website during the unrest following last year’s Ferguson police shooting death of Michael Brown.
Thirty-three-year-old Justin Payne pleaded guilty Friday in St. Louis to a felony count of possessing an unregistered firearm and a misdemeanor count of damaging a protected computer. Authorities say Payne’s hometown is unknown.
Federal prosecutors say last December’s cyberattack that targeted the St. Louis County Police Association website was part of a so-called “Operation Ferguson” effort in support of protesters of Brown’s August 2014 shooting death by a Ferguson police officer.
Investigators say Payne used Twitter accounts to orchestrate the cyberattack that overwhelmed the police union’s website.
Payne was arrested in March.