CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The "hacktivist" group known as Anonymous accused the Cincinnati Police Department of double standards in the use of lethal force in a video posted online Sunday-- but the group didn't get all the facts straight.
In the video, titled "Message to Cincinnati Police Department," Anonymous cited the Feb. 18 fatal police-involved shooting of 37-year-old Paul Gaston. Police said they fired after Gaston reached into his waistband for what turned out to be a pellet gun.
The group also claims officers did not use the same force against an armed white suspect, Christopher Laugle, on the same day Gaston was shot and killed.
Here's the rub: The two incidents do not involve the same police department.
Laugle, the armed white suspect referenced in the video, pulled a fake gun on Mount Healthy officers when they showed up to investigate an assault complaint. Mt. Healthy operates under a jurisdiction separate from Cincinnati. Body camera footage suggests the officers were aware the gun wasn't real.
"It's a totally different situation than the police officers from Cincinnati," said Mount Healthy Police Chief Vince Demasi.
Demasi wasn't aware of Anonymous connecting the two incidents until FOX19 NOW showed him the video Monday.
It is unclear how Anonymous received the false information.
The Anonymous video message shows cell phone footage of the Gaston shooting. Fraternal Order of Police Sgt. Dan Hils said the group doctored those videos, cutting it short before Gaston is seen reaching toward his waistband.
Officers fired nine shots at Gaston, 37, after he refused to lie flat on the ground and then raised up, appearing to reach for a weapon from his waistband, police chief Eliot Isaac said.