A hacker, a revolutionary, a racist crusader, a father, a husband, a university student, a son, and a friend: Sam Maloney was all of these things, depending on who you ask.
But the one person we can't ask is Maloney himself, who was shot dead by police in his home in London, Ontario, during an early morning raid to seize his computer in December of last year. He allegedly fired a crossbow at officers, who were there to investigate the defacement of a local cinema's website with a rambling, racist screed.
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Today, Motherboard is telling Maloney's story in the first episode of a new podcast: pluspluspodcast, which will tell stories from the perspective of journalists in the field. With narration by me, Jordan Pearson, production by Katie Jensen (formerly of Canadaland), and a slappin' theme song courtesy of Toronto's Paul Chin, Maloney's story sets the tone for future installments.
I visited London in January and scoured the internet to speak with Maloney's family, friends, collaborators, as well as his common law wife's lawyer. Melissa Facciolo, Maloney's wife, is facing criminal charges due to a 10-year weapons ban that was breached by the presence of the crossbow in the house.
Maloney's story is in turns sad, strange, and unsettling. There's no doubt that his online persona was troubled and expressed toxic views that should be condemned by every reasonably empathetic person. But questions remain about the appropriateness of a pre-dawn raid to seize a computer, and the circumstances surrounding Maloney's shooting death at the hands of police.
The Ontario Special Investigations Unit is investigating the shooting, and the police would not comment on any aspect of this story. Disclosure from the police is expected in the coming days or weeks.
Stay tuned for new episodes of pluspluspodcast every week for the next six weeks.
Subscribe to pluspluspodcast, Motherboard's new show about the people and machines that are building our future.