The social media strategists at the New York Police Department no doubt thought they were onto a feel-good idea when then asked Twitter users to submit photos of themselves with members of the NYPD and the hashtag #MyNYPD.
They were likely expecting warm and fuzzy shots, but the campaign took a u-turn when Twitter users from around the world began tweeting pictures of New York’s finest in their less than finest moments. Many of the photos appeared to show police behaving brutally.
As CBS 2 New York
reports, “the responses soon turned ugly when some users started using the hashtag to send in photos of alleged police brutality. Occupy Wall Street tweeted numerous photos, including one of cops battling protesters with the caption ‘changing hearts and minds one baton at a time.’ Other photos included a cop yanking a woman’s hair, an officer with his knee on a shirtless man’s neck and an elderly man bloodied after being arrested.” There was also a shot of an officer pinning a dog to the ground.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called most of the photos “old news,” but admitted he was caught off guard by the response. “Often times our activities are lawful, but they look awful and that’s the reality,” he said. “And as I looked at some of those photos, those were officers engaged lawfully.”
“The #MyNYPD hashtag quickly became a top trending topic on Twitter and spawned similar hashtags for other cities, including #MyLAPD with users posting similar pictures of Los Angeles police,” CBS 2 reports.
Police spokeswoman Kim Royster said the NYPD “is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community” and that Twitter “provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”