NYPD faces Twitter backlash over PR move

23 Apr 2014

The original image tweeted by the NYPD

The New York Police Department (NYPD)’s attempts to create a feeling of goodwill for their officers has backfired after people began posting examples of some heavy-handed arrests.

The person in charge of the police department’s social media had originally tweeted: “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook (page).”

It also featured an image of two police officers and a civilian in Times Square posing for a photo in what was hoped to create a positive message.

However, like many other similar examples in the past, the attempt to create good PR has backfired, with a number of people posting images appearing to show examples of the NYPD having a somewhat heavy-handed approach to arrests.


The collage of images posted on the NYPD Twitter account. Photo via @LibertyBlitz

The images appear to show a NYPD officer pulling a person’s hair, another officer charging at a crowd with a baton during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2012, and another officer appearing agitated as a civilian cowers.

In a two-sentence statement released to the New York Times, the NYPD said with regard to the backlash that it is “creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community” and that Twitter provided “an open forum for an uncensored exchange” that is “good for our city.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic