NYPD: Social Media May Not Be Your Bag


Twitter image courtesy of Occupy Wall Street

NYPD: Social Media May Not be Your Bag
| Published April 30, 2014 |

By Earl Perkins
Thursday Review associate editor

The New York Police Department is looking for other ways to help connect itself in a positive way with the community, according to Fox News. Its most recent public relations campaign—encouraging citizens to share photos of themselves with officers using the Twitter hashtag "my NYPD."—seems to have backfired and morphed in unexpected ways.

There are millions of people in the world who are tone deaf, and this even extends to governmental agencies on occasion. When you're the largest and most high-profile police force in the western world, you should probably keep your mouth shut and your head down. Indeed, so many people have either had bad interactions with the police or know about inappropriate actions, that it is safe to assume that tens of thousands of folks would love nothing more than to find ways to make the NYPD look bad.

Moreover, the popularity of the internet and vast improvements in photographic clarity are not always your marketing friend. Many people shared heartwarming and smiling images, but others sent extremely unflattering or suspiciously posed pictures.

Some were taken during the Occupy Wall Street occupation and protests. "NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time," @occupywallstnyc tweeted.

CNN reported one tweet which read “The NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair,” which was sent out alongside a photo of a police officer pulling the hair of someone apparently under arrest.

Plenty of the negative tweets involved overt cases of police brutality, or, at the very least, police overreaction, according to USA Today. One photo shows helmeted, heavily armed cops wrestling with two unarmed street protesters, both of whom are being tugged by their arms and legs. The tweet reads, “Police help couple do Yoga with proper form!”

Embarrassing episodes from the department's history were also front and center, including a photo of David Ranta, who served 23 years on a murder conviction that was overturned, followed by his release from prison due to police misconduct.

One posting showed a policeman apparently writing someone in a Minnie Mouse costume a ticket in Times Square, while another showed an officer sleeping on the subway.

And how about the one taken at a West Indian Day Parade showing an officer simulating a sex act with a citizen? Oh, it's just gotten bigger by the minute, and by Tuesday afternoon #myNYPD was the most popular hashtag in New York, No. 2 in the nation and No. 4 in the world.

“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," said Kim Royster, NYPD deputy chief.