— Stop The Wars (@sickjew) April 22, 2014
The NYPD has it pretty rough from a PR perspective (and for admittedly very good reasons). That’s why some ingenious
intern publicist decided that it would a great idea to start a contest on Twitter and ask users to submit pictures of themselves with police officers from our fair city. Surprise! It backfired.
The official NYPD News Twitter account published a photo yesterday afternoon explaining the rules of the contest. Basically, if you had a picture of yourself with officers from the NYPD, you could tweet it to them with the hashtag #MyNYPD, and then they would… have it. Or something.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
Hey, wait a second, though. You know who does have really compelling pictures of themselves with the NYPD? Victims of police brutality, of which there are many in New York City. So, a bunch of activists and protestors thought that maybe the people who run the Twitter account would like to be reminded of that fact.
— Layla Sola (@ljsola) April 23, 2014
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) April 22, 2014
— Casey Aldridge (@CaseyJAldridge) April 22, 2014
— आनिल् (@guru0509) April 22, 2014
It doesn’t seem like any of the hashtag users are actually depicted in what they’ve tweeted out — the image highlighted by Twitter user @sickjew is from a Guardian article about Kimani Grey protestors, for example, and the other ones shown above are mostly all AP-credited or N.Y. Post credited, as well. But, their message is pretty effective; the NYPD sure has a problem with beating on people who don’t really look like they needed to be beat on.
For real, is there any authoritative body more fiercely reviled in spirit than the New York Police Department? Sure, individual cops are real nice and will give you directions or let you pet their horse if you’re a white tourist, but as a collective, they tend to do gross stuff like shoot unassuming black teenagers to death, mace peaceful protestors in the face, and close ranks around suspected rapists among them.
And really, it’s the closing ranks that’s the most egregious—not around rapists specifically, but around an uncomfortable number of police officers who abuse their power. It’s something that the NYPD keeps saying they’re going to work on and then doesn’t, or takes too long actually achieving any progress on, and that needs to change. After all, how long did it take them to shut down the Muslim Surveillance program that wasn’t a good idea to begin with and didn’t even do anything but waste taxpayer money and infringe a lot of people’s rights?
For their part, the NYPD hasn’t condemned the takeover of their hashtag, possibly because they don’t know how to body slam people over the Internet. Yet. (We bet they’re working on that technology.) Spokewoman Kim Royster released a statement saying, “The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.” Which doesn’t sound like they’re interested in taking the criticisms entirely seriously, but what else is new?
Although, to be fair, the hashtag wasn’t all beatdowns and assaults:
— Pancake Witch (@TheRealKeori) April 22, 2014
- Street artist Banksy has also had run-ins with the NYPD
- Remember that time they released gas into the subway system?
- Some Twitter trends are just the worst