Tuesday, the New York police department decided to try to launch a social media campaign, tweeting to the world, “Do you have a photo w/a member of the NYPD?” from @NYPDnews, “Tweet us and tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook.” The New York police department was expecting more neighborly, friendly photos. Maybe posing with a funny face, or just a smile. The true NYPD exposure on Twitter is despicable.
The featured image is one of which that came out as to what the NYPD wanted, a man posing with two officers, all of whom have their arms around each other in a friendly embrace, and images like this did appear on the police departments Twitter account, but only a handful.
Almost as soon as the tweet was sent, images started flooding into Twitter, most of which exposed displayed the brutality and lack or morale of the NYPD. One of which is a woman who appears to be getting arrested and pulled in one direction, while an officer holds onto her hair, pulling her in the opposite way. Another was taken during the reign of Bloomberg during his stop-and-frisk program, showing a man being held down with what appears to be intense pressure. There was even one shared of a police officer shooting a dog.
The anger and outrage coming from the twitter feeds of those living in the city and even beyond it is astounding, with a vast multitude of reasons for it. The NYPD is typically viewed as an instrument of violence and abusive power, and many of the photos on @NYPDnews document incidents where abuse of power and excessive violence is the only clear interpretation.
Rage still associated with the stop-and-frisk program may have been a large factor in the content of the photos as the act was declared unconstitutional and the man who was supposed to monitor police practices did nothing, and is only serving three years.
That is not even the beginning of the endlessly long criminal record of the NYPD. Just disbanded last week, there was a unit assembled to conduct wide-reaching surveillance of Muslim-Americans, this is also known as espionage. During Occupy Wall Street, hundreds of photos were taken of the police becoming violent and merciless. In August of 2012, two police officers shot nine innocent civilians in the chasing of one man. Only a month before that, Michael Pena, a former officer of the law, was charged with sexually assaulting a teacher, using his NYPD issued revolver to threaten her.
That does not go to say that all NY police are bad. In fact, in an interview with Commissioner William Bratton last month, he conceded that while effective, the stop-and-frisk policy had gone much to far, and was awful for everyone. “Morale in this organization was awful. the public didn’t understand; politicians didn’t understand it” said Bratton.
While most of the NYPD exposure on twitter shows them committing horrendous and deplorable acts, there are many New York police officers who do actually follow the law. The tweet also brought good unintentionally with it. It is no longer just an NYPD hashtag (#myNYPD), it has become nationwide. People from Los Angles, Seattle, even Houston have created their own hash tags similar to the NYPD’s, mocking it, to display injustice perpetrated by our worst police.
By Devon Struble