NYPD Twitter Outreach Turns Into Outrage

Hashtag turns Twitter into an image gallery of police brutality

Lawyers have a saying: Never ask a question unless you know the answer you're likely to get. The New York Police Department might think of adopting something similar on social media.

Someone at the NYPD decided that it would be good for its image, relations with the public, and officer morale to show pictures citizens with New York's finest. So the department wrote on Twitter, "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook." Just one problem: They didn't ask for happy pictures and the hashtag turned into a bashtag, as the Daily Dot reported.

A search for #myNYPD on Twitter offered one image after another of citizens being beaten up and restrained by officers. The result has been a massive PR fiasco. For example, there was the AP photo of a demonstrator held down during a vigil for 16-year-old Kimani Gray, who reportedly had been shot and killed by plainclothes officers, according to the Guardian.

The Twitter account of Occupy Wall Street was happy to contribute this:

And this:

Another image was a woman restrained by three police officers.

Then there was the man who was wrestled to the ground by three officers. (There does seem to be a trio theme.)

Someone captioned this image as "Protecting the corporations from the citizens since 1857."

The fiasco quickly went global as Twitter users in multiple countries--this one writing in Dutch--joined the party.

As Gawker pointed out, some New Yorkers posted more positive pictures--the type that the department had wanted to encourage in the first place. But the massive onset of negative ones quickly swept them out of view.

It may be that some of the images are taken out of context, that the police were responding to some threat of force. But it's hard to argue that an 84-year-old man who jaywalked was enough of a threat to explain allegedly being bloodied by police, as the New York Post reported in January.

Or allegedly shooting a homeless man's dog while the man was having a seizure.

Sounds like someone in the department needs to do some time in social media school.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Well, they got what they asked for. Maybe they should try acting nicer toward the public.

April 23 2014 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, I forgot to say why the cops thought I was awol in my previous post. They thought I was awol because my hair was short. This was in 1970 or 1971 and I had a bur haircut. Happened in New Orleans.

April 23 2014 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All too often, cops are nothing but bullies with badges and guns.

April 23 2014 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cops "reaching out" is almost always a bad thing in my experience. I know there must be some good cops but how can you sort them out? I think a lot of bullies join the police force so they can more effectively engage in their favorite pastime...bullying.

One example: I was held in jail all afternoon for being awol and have never been in the military. My draft card was 3A. I explained to the cops that 3A's were never drafted because they have a child. 3A's were draft exempt (Vietnam era). The cops didn't believe me and they didn't bother to check. When they finally released me one of the cops told me I "was lucky". I have many more examples.

April 23 2014 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Waytago NYPD, you just had all 30,000 plus officers pull their service arms out and blow their collective foot off. Think before you act will ya?

April 23 2014 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Imagine a great big target painted on your back.
Imagine being the least welcome person in the area pretty much all of the time.
!!Except!! when there is crisis or danger or both.
Imagine being the one who is expected to confront the danger or crisis.
And once over, imagine being instantly unwelcome all over again.

And then, consider the life of a police officer and why it is that they may be just a little bit cautious when dealing with crisis or danger. And why perhaps they may use force, and quickly, to diffuse that crisis or danger.

April 23 2014 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pfjw's comment

I have been there, done that. You defeat the purpose of serve and defend. The police have dangerous job, but if you forget your purpose you easily loose sight and take it out on everyone. You can't take, quit, find a nice safe job that doesn't cost some civilian his or her life.

April 23 2014 at 3:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Where I live you never know how you are going to treated by the cops, one time you may treated well and with respect the next you can be dragged from your car thrown to the ground and beaten for resisting. I sometimes think they recruit all the high school bullies straight out of school.

April 23 2014 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually dont see one example of brutality in those pictures. Some people getting arrested, some people resisting arrest and getting dealt with accordingly. 99% of the time, the person getting arrested dictates the actions of the police and any force used. 99% of all arrests are conducted without incident, but the media doesn't want people to hear that, because it's not interesting. The police ARE allowed to use force, ARE allowed to punch people and ARE allowed to shoot people who threaten them or others with bodily harm, yet absolutely every use of force seems to be labeled brutality by those who are ignorant of the law.

April 23 2014 at 3:21 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I had a similar experience with I was trying to get a refund from the Post office for a mistake they made. However, the supervisor refuse to help and stated they don't issue refunds per their policy....which in fact is incorrect. But it was her loud and indifferent attitude that was hostile toward the problem that mad it worse, at which point I requested her manager.

The package was sent by Priority Mail to a music dealer of mine. Instead of the carrier leaving a Pink slip notifying the shop of the package to pick up, they marked it "undeliverable as addressed," and returned it back to our shop without notice...and there was nothing at all wrong with the address.

I whole ordeal lasted 45 minutes to resolve, I was calm the whole time; not arguing or being loud, and someone at the post office took it upon themselves to call the police to have me removed. While the manager finally called their consumer affairs office, and while I was still waiting the two militarized, heavily armed police in all black riot gear showed up hopped up on roids, but a worker their took them to the P.O. boxes and told them something, and they then left. Then the manager came back with a form to fill out and issued my refund.

April 23 2014 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all in a days work............ good job

April 23 2014 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web