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NYPD #myNYPD Twitter campaign backfires

A NYPD campaign to improve its image via social media instead produced a flood of pictures of police brutality and tweets critical of the force.

The NYPD's Twitter campaign asking people to submit photos with police officers backfired Tuesday. Credit: DefendedInTheStreets ‏@KimaniFilm/ Twitter The NYPD's Twitter campaign asking people to submit photos with police officers backfired Tuesday.
Credit: DefendedInTheStreets ‏@KimaniFilm/ Twitter

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he would continue and expand an NYPD Twitter campaign a day after it backfired, triggering an outpouring of negative images including police violence at New York's Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an NYPD officer pointing a gun at a dog, and an officer asleep in a subway car.

"The reality of policing is that oftentimes our actions are lawful, but they look awful," Bratton told a news briefing at City Hall on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the department invited Twitter users to submit pictures of themselves with NYPD cops using the hashtag #mynypd, promising some would be posted to the NYPD Facebook page.

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Within hours, a torrent of images depicting police brutality, violence and controversial tactics deluged Twitter. By Wednesday morning, the #mynypd hashtag had been tweeted more than 94,000 times.

Images and tweets also referred to the fatal, controversial New York police shootings of Sean Bell in 1999 and Amadou Diallo in 1999, each of which led to criminal trials in which all the officers were acquitted.

"Most of those photos that I looked at are old news," said Bratton, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to take over from Ray Kelly, who served for 12 years under de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.

The NYPD issued a two-sentence statement saying that it was "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," the statement said.

Other high-profile Twitter campaigns that went awry include one launched by Comedy Central's satirical Colbert Report that in March took down a tweet that many considered racist after it poked fun at a football team owner and sparked a #CancelColbert backlash.

 
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