Some such deals have been sharply criticized as shielding police officers from prosecution or disciplinary action following the excessive use of force.
Private files belonging to America’s biggest police union, including the names and addresses of officers, forum posts critical of Barack Obama, and controversial contracts made with city authorities, were posted online on Thursday after a hacker breached its website.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which says it represents about 330,000 law enforcement officers across the US, said the FBI was investigating after 2.5GB of data taken from its servers was dumped online and swiftly shared on social media. The union’s national site, fop.net, remained offline on Thursday evening.
“We have contacted the office of the assistant attorney general in charge of cyber crime, and officials from FBI field offices have already made contact with our staff,” Chuck Canterbury, the FOP’s national president, said in an interview.
The FBI did not respond to a request to confirm that it was investigating.
Canterbury said he was confident that no sensitive personal information or financial details of their members had been obtained. “Some names and addresses were taken,” he said. “It concerns us. We’re taking steps to try to notify our members but that is going to take some time.”
Threads from the FOP’s members-only online forum were also leaked, including some in which officers expressed anger at Obama, supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor and “illegals” who were in the US without documentation.