City of San Marcos websites shut down after hacker threat

The City of San Marcos temporarily shut down it's website and all of the pages it hosts.

On Tuesday, the city said a threat on the Police Department's Facebook page prompted them to temporarily take it offline.

"All of our systems, all of our data is safe and secure and running on the back end," says San Marcos Assistant Police Chief Bob Klett.

The threats he says stem from a case in 2013 where one of their officers used excessive force on a female. The officer, James Palermo, they say illegally detained her and slammed her to the ground.

"We ultimately filed criminal charges against him, we ultimately arrested him and after that process, we terminated him," says Klett.

Palermo, a thirteen year veteran of the department, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Court records show, in January he was sentenced to ten years probation. The 43-year-old was also forced to permanently surrender his Texas law enforcement license.

"When we find out that there's misconduct, we're going to deal with it because it's the right thing to do," says Klett.

So imagine their surprise when, overnight, and alleged hacker threatened them over the case, on the department's Facebook page. A group called "Bit Coin Baron" later claimed responsibility.

The city's IT department is investigating.

"Part of their demands were that we not have the officer employed here anymore and that he gets charged and put in prison and in fact that's been done already," Klett says.

He says though Palermo's rogue actions were a "black eye" for the department, he wants the public to know they pride themselves not only on employing great officers but also not tolerating that kind of behavior. "It was something serious that we dealt with and he's not out there where he can harm anyone as a police officer anymore."

As for the victim in all of this, Alexa Alpha, she has filed a civil suit. That case is pending.

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