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NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the hug-a-cop dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A NYPD community outreach campaign designed to show images of citizens with cops turned ugly quickly when a deluge of images depicting police brutality came in. From the article: 'The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption "changing hearts and minds one baton at a time." Other photos included an elderly man bloodied after being arrested for jaywalking.' Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says, 'I kind of welcome the attention,' of the #myNYPD project."
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NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

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  • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:05PM (#46828999)

    ...well, there were batons.

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:11PM (#46829021)

    Well now we know of one more sociopath who is gainfully employed.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:18PM (#46829059)

      He also said:

      The photos are "old news," Bratton said. "They’ve been out there for a long time."

      Well, Commissioner Bratton, since these photos are old news and you are welcoming the attention they are getting, I'm sure you'd be happy to share with us what sort of investigation into these incidents there were and what punishment the officers received?

      • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:53PM (#46829563)

        and what punishment the officers received?

        and what promotions the officers received?

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:36PM (#46830057) Journal

        I'm sure all the perps were sternly admonished to avoid cameras before beating people up in the future.

        -jcr

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:29PM (#46829113)

      That was what struck me at first, upon reading the article.

      "The photos are 'old news,' Bratton said."
      "'They’ve been out there for a long time.'"

      That's their public image. That's what the people they serve, and the people around the country, see them as. He's the boss... and he can't be bothered to give a shit. Clearly the problems with the NYPD go all the way to the top. Above Commissioner Bratton. Since this problem spans multiple mayoral administrations we have to just ask... does a politicians political appointees EVER represent the best choices for their constituency, or only the administration doing the appointing?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Guest316 (3014867)
      Spoiler: They think it's hilarious. Because they're the good guys. And anyone in those pictures had it coming. And what are you going to do about it anyway?
  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:15PM (#46829047)

    ...then they wouldn't consider this a failure. Truth and evidence should never be considered a failure. Identifying police brutality so that those individual cops can be punished, and thus hopefully prevent other cops from doing the same, should be considered a success. But obviously that's not how it works.

    There are plenty of good cops out there, but by not punishing the bad cops it makes them all look bad.

    • should be considered a success.

      Isn't that what they did? The police commissioner said he welcomes the attention, so it doesn't seem like NYPD is objecting to it.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Yes, look at the article: "NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster told The New York Times the department was "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."

        Oh, but they didn't mean it! They didn't expect this, we subverted it! It's a backfire, really!

        What else could either side possibly say? Anyways, the Police comment is closer to the truth, this is good for the city.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:22PM (#46829075)

      There are plenty of good cops out there, but by not punishing the bad cops it makes them all look bad.
      Uh, no. By not punishing the "bad cops" those "good cops" become "bad cops". It's really that simple. It's also why as a species, humanity is fucked.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by AK Marc (707885)

      There are plenty of good cops out there,

      No, there are bad cops, and cops that cover for bad cops (and are thus, bad cops). There are no good cops. Well, maybe some rookies that are particularly dumb. But that's not hard, when there is a screening to get rid of smart cops, but none to get rid of dumb ones.

      • by Guest316 (3014867) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:01PM (#46829285)
        No, there are good cops. They can be found in good PDs where bad cops aren't tolerated. But when you have bad cops, you can be pretty sure their PD, its culture, and their union are all part of the problem.

        And naturally the bad ones get the most publicity, which isn't fair even though it's to be expected.
        • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:19PM (#46829393) Homepage

          Look what happened to this guy when he tried to blow the whistle on all the bad cops http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

          They abducted him and had him admitted to a mental hospital for six days!

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Look what happened to this guy when he tried to blow the whistle on all the bad cops http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

            They abducted him and had him admitted to a mental hospital for six days!

            And people wonder why Snowden went public with his evidence...

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Ah yes, it's the unions that cause bad cops.
        • by thedarb (181754)
          "No, there are good cops."

          Yeah. We call them Firemen.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:47PM (#46829215) Journal

      There are plenty of good cops out there, but by not punishing the bad cops it makes them all look bad.

      Does it merely make them look bad? A bad cop is a more dangerous criminal than most of the people the cops are there to deal with. If the 'good cops' aren't enthusiastically hunting them down, I'd say that they are ineffectual at best and complicit at worst, not merely sullied by unfortunate proximity.

      • by NoKaOi (1415755)

        Does it merely make them look bad? A bad cop is a more dangerous criminal than most of the people the cops are there to deal with. If the 'good cops' aren't enthusiastically hunting them down, I'd say that they are ineffectual at best and complicit at worst, not merely sullied by unfortunate proximity.

        Very good point, but I suppose "good" and "bad" is a spectrum. The problem is, if a cop with the best intentions knows about bad/illegal behavior of another cop, what are they going to do? If they report them (at least if they're not the bad cop's superior), then the bad cop will still not be punished, but the otherwise good cop will be harassed and hazed until they have no choice but to quit or be fired (or in the case previously mentioned be thrown in a mental institution). So, would it do more "good"

        • I suppose the answer to that depends on how idealistic you are, but the real world tends not to be boolean.

          Nor does it have to be, as that depends on individual preferences. If you want to never change a damn thing, then don't do anything about bad cops. It's a good way to ensure that they'll forever be able to do as they please.

        • Very good point, but I suppose "good" and "bad" is a spectrum. The problem is, if a cop with the best intentions knows about bad/illegal behavior of another cop, what are they going to do? If they report them (at least if they're not the bad cop's superior), then the bad cop will still not be punished, but the otherwise good cop will be harassed and hazed until they have no choice but to quit or be fired (or in the case previously mentioned be thrown in a mental institution). So, would it do more "good" in the world to get shoved out the door and not effect change, or to continue doing what you can to bust the criminals that you can? I suppose the answer to that depends on how idealistic you are, but the real world tends not to be boolean.

          If they haven't, everyone should see the movie Serpico. Not only is it a good movie made back when Al Pacino actually acted, but it shows the dynamic that an honest cop has to deal with in a corrupt precinct. It is fictional, but it is a good depiction of the options available.

    • "There are plenty of good cops out there, ..."

      I have heard of no evidence for there being ANY good cops. If there were any, it would be in the news that instead of various projects uncovering criminal behavior, it would be the cops, themselves, and it never seems to happen. There are cops who are murderers, rapists, thieves, and just plain thugs, and the rest of them are guilty of covering for the criminals. What happened to the NYPD officers who gang sodomized that Jamaican? The POLICE OFFICERS UNION p

      • by Kittenman (971447)

        "There are plenty of good cops out there, ..."

        I have heard of no evidence for there being ANY good cops. If there were any, it would be in the news that instead of various projects uncovering criminal behavior, it would be the cops, themselves, and it never seems to happen. There are cops who are murderers, rapists, thieves, and just plain thugs, and the rest of them are guilty of covering for the criminals. What happened to the NYPD officers who gang sodomized that Jamaican? The POLICE OFFICERS UNION pressured the city not to throw the SOBs in jail.

        Nonsense. Bad news sells papers. "Cops beat defenceless grandmother" will get a lot more people buying newspapers, than "Cops help little old lady cross busy street safely". There are good cops and there are bad cops. The good cops outnumber the bad ones - vastly, I trust, as the selection process will help in that respect.

        • by dltaylor (7510) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @01:37AM (#46830441)

          Nonsense.

          The "bad cop busted" is still news, and the "hero cop does the bust" just makes it better news. I have NEVER heard of a "bad cop" bust (and there have been many over my lifetime) where it was a "good cop" on his force that did it. It has always been outsiders.

          • Nonsense.

            The "bad cop busted" is still news, and the "hero cop does the bust" just makes it better news. I have NEVER heard of a "bad cop" bust (and there have been many over my lifetime) where it was a "good cop" on his force that did it. It has always been outsiders.

            You are young then. I try to keep explaining to people that things were NOT always this bad. From Wiki. I could see this station from my front porch growing up:

            1980s - "Marquette Ten": 10 police officers in Chicago's Marquette District were convicted of taking bribes from drug dealers. Among those was Chicago police officer Thomas Ambrose, the father of former U.S. Marshall John Ambrose, who was convicted 20-years later of leaking information to the Chicago Outfit about federal informant Nick Calabrese,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Kano (13027)

      There are plenty of good cops out there

      I suppose that's arguable but if the majority of cops were good, how could bad cops continue to exist?

      Good cops are the minority.

      LK

    • by Entropius (188861) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:55AM (#46830333)

      Good cop story: I was accosted by four cops in squad cars one night in Tucson about midnight. I'd gotten hungry and decided to go to the local burrito joint. I wanted to read while I was there, so I took my netbook. It was cold, so I jogged the few blocks to the Taco Shop.

      'Course, the cops see a guy running down the road with a laptop, and go "huh, we'd better see what the hell is going on here."

      Cop says "Eh, what're you doing?" I tell him I'm headed to the Taco Shop for a burrito, and ask him what the problem is. He says "Is that your computer?" I tell him "Yeah ... now that I think about it, I do look suspicious, I guess. Look, can I boot the thing and show you documents with my name on them, and that it matches my driver's license?"

      The cop tells me to go ahead, so I do. He says "Well, looks like it's your computer -- have a nice night" and they leave me alone.

      Unfortunately, in a lot of places trying to do what I did (talk to the cops, rather than say "I do not consent to any searches and would like a lawyer") ends badly. But Tucson PD is pretty relaxed. I just wish police in more places could be trusted to treat citizens like citizens rather than "criminals they haven't caught yet"; I imagine they'd be better at preventing crime if they did.

      (For those not well-versed in Arizona geopolitics: the place with the out-of-control xenophobic sheriff is Phoenix, north of Tucson. There Hispanics are regularly harassed by the police. In Tucson a big chunk of the police *are* Hispanic; it's a city that is far more tolerant.)

      • no offence intended ... but are you white/caucasian/member of the majority race?

        i am a sri lankan living in sri lanka, and i am (officially) sinhalese .. the majority race .. i know that my being part of the majority has got me out of a lot of grief ... and because of that i go out of my way to help people that are getting grief because they are the minority ..

        i am not blaming you, far from it. but saying that a white person running with a laptop would probably be treated far FAR differently from a POC doing the same thing

        • by Entropius (188861)

          I am white, but two or three of the four cops were Hispanic, as is almost half of Tucson. (Many billboards are in Spanish, for instance: not only are there a lot of folks who speak the language, they are wealthy enough that it's worth selling them things.) That's why I included that coda about racial politics in Arizona to my post: it's a) the Border Patrol, and b) the nutters in Phoenix that make a habit of haranguing folks for "driving while Mexican"; the Tucson PD, keeping watch over a city with a large

          • Just FYI - PG County in Maryland had famously violent and racist cops. They did a big affermative action push and now the Blacks are getting beat and abused by Black cops instead of white cops It is entirely likely the hispanic cops give you the same preference as the white cops. OTOH if I was a cop and I saw someone running at night with a computer, I might ask what was going on too ;)
      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        In Tucson a big chunk of the police *are* Hispanic; it's a city that is far more tolerant.

        Hispanic doesn't mean "tolerant of illegal immigrants". Lots of Border Patrol agents are hispanic.

  • One of these shows a police officer pinning a guy to the ground with his knee so that he can cuff him (presumably after the guy already did something wrong and tried to resist arrest.) That is hardly what I'd call brutality.

    Also another one of these shows a guy laying on the ground screaming near a police motorcycle. I remember hearing about that, the motorcycle barely nudged him on accident and he deliberately dropped on the ground screaming like a 5 year old, way over-reacting to the incident. The guy (lo

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:29PM (#46829109)

      I understand that the police can go too far, but protesters and rioters certainly can and do go too far as well.

      We hold the police to a higher standard for a very good reason. If the occupy people did that crap to me, I'd probably stop so I could kick the guys ass. But I'm not a cop, I'm not on duty, and it's not my job to put up with that kind of crap. Annoyed with protesters? Don't get a job as a cop dead center in the protest capital of the country.

      • I'd recommend getting a job playing campus cop [wikipedia.org] at some California state school instead. Much nicer weather.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AlphaWolf_HK (692722)

        What you're essentially asking for is to have a job where you're expected to get rocks and garbage thrown at you (yes, this is common at occupy events) and for you to just stand there and take it. That is exactly what happens prior to these incidents.

        Cops are humans, and as such they don't want to have to be denigrated like that any more than you do.

        Think about this: If you deliberately provoke a reaction, do you think it's possible that you just might succeed in getting one?

        • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @07:29AM (#46831435)

          Think about this: If you deliberately provoke a reaction, do you think it's possible that you just might succeed in getting one?

          Yes. Now, would that excuse let me walk away with a not guilty verdict, or better yet avoid a trial entirely, after I'd beaten someone bloody with a baton? Because I don't think it would.

          • Right, because clearly beating somebody bloody with a baton is the only way they've ever handled it.

            Most of these photos don't even depict abuse, rather they depict some derp acting like a jackass and then resisting arrest, and getting a knee to the neck. That's hardly what I'd call abuse, meanwhile the caption is "oh the humanity!"

            • by ultranova (717540)

              Most of these photos don't even depict abuse, rather they depict some derp acting like a jackass and then resisting arrest, and getting a knee to the neck.

              How does a picture depict a series of events? It can't. It's showing you one moment in time; it's your imagination that's supplying the previous and next moments, based on your preconceived worldview.

              • Usually there are other indications along with these, such as scratches, abrasions, lacerations, etc, (RARELY bruising, as bruising usually occurs after the fact) that are normal when you struggle on the ground. In most of these pictures, you see no such indications. Typically that means the person was very quickly brought to the ground and cuffed as that picture was being taken. If that is the case, then it's very hard to argue that there was any kind of abuse. Abuse is when they beat on them either before

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          What you're essentially asking for is to have a job where you're expected to get rocks and garbage thrown at you (yes, this is common at occupy events) and for you to just stand there and take it.

          Yes, that is exactly what is expected. In a crowded area where it is usually pretty hard to see how threw something out of a large group of people the only option is to either put up with it or wade in and start hitting everyone. If you take the latter approch you start to look at everyone as a criminal, peaceful protester or not. It also makes protest practically impossible because a single arsehole throwing something is a green light for the police to smash everyone's skull in.

          The real solution is to make

        • Cops are humans, and as such they don't want to have to be denigrated like that any more than you do.

          Of course they don't. But they chose a profession that requires them to uphold a higher standard. Why? Well, for the idealistic rationale: because someone who chooses to be a policeman, they are presumed to prefer order and law over chaos. Thus, they are expected to be the guy who walks away from an insult rather than starting a barfight. If they don't have those sorts of ideals, they shouldn't become a cop.

          The more practical reason? Because they usually carry deadly weapons or other arms that could

        • >

          Think about this: If you deliberately provoke a reaction, do you think it's possible that you just might succeed in getting one?

          That's exactly what the protesters are aiming for. So they can get photos like this. So who won again?

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:33PM (#46829129)

      One of these shows a police officer pinning a guy to the ground with his knee so that he can cuff him (presumably after the guy already did something wrong and tried to resist arrest.) That is hardly what I'd call brutality.

      I've seen full video for something like that. The person was compliant, but the police treated him roughly anyway, knowing that the abuse apologists like you would justify it.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:53PM (#46829247) Journal
      The nice thing about the knee-pin move is that, while it lacks the drama and blood of a good mag-lite to the face and thus plays comparatively well for the cameras, there is a relatively thin line between 'pinning' and 'compressive asphyxia'. Just a matter of how much weight you put on that knee...
      • It's kind of obvious when that's happening because the person's eyes will appear to swell. In this case the guy just had a rather blank stare on his face.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      "The guy (looked to be in his 50's or 60's) was acting like a baby trying to get attention and it was so cringe worthy that if I was there I would have been tempted to slap him and tell him to grow up for once in his life."

      And what if he had a bone disease? Bone spurs? Even a tiny bump can cause the most excruciating pain, you ill-educated person. I should know, I have lumbosacral arthritis and if I even so much as tap my spine/pelvis area I'm on the ground crying.

    • by Dereck1701 (1922824) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:08PM (#46829937)

      "presumably after the guy already did something wrong and tried to resist arrest."

      Is that anything like the below case, where a passenger in a car where the driver did run stayed in the car and waited for police to return. After they came back he slowly exited the car with his hands up and made no attempt to flee or resist and they still chucked him to the ground, pinned him down, tased him, punched and kicked him multiple times and then heaved him face first into the back of a police cruiser with his hands cuffed behind his back?

      http://www.bringmethenews.com/... [bringmethenews.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • Even better, Just stumbled across this when checking ABC news. Apparently one officers idea of "crowd control" is to trip and shove high school girls at a football game.

        http://abcnews.go.com/US/video... [go.com]

      • by crtreece (59298)
        I love how they tase the passenger, which causes loss of voluntary muscle control. This is then written up as "resisting arrest" for not putting your hands behind your back or not following whatever other orders are given. Now they have "justification" for further beating. You could spend all day on youtube watching similar examples.
    • One of these shows a police officer pinning a guy to the ground with his knee so that he can cuff him (presumably after the guy already did something wrong and tried to resist arrest.)

      Presumably!?!? So, you are claiming to know the truth, and admit in the same sentence that you don't. Police actions not only may be questioned, they must be questioned. If they do nothing wrong then they have nothing to be worried about when we question them, right? That's the same approach they often take with us, no?

      • Police actions should be questioned. Thing is, we may not have good answers.

        A shot of an officer pinning a guy with a knee and cuffing him doesn't itself allow a conclusion. It could be done as a minimum-force way to cuff a violent offender. It could be done as a painful way to deal with an innocent. It isn't evidence of any wrongdoing, on either the arrester's or the arrestee's side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:17PM (#46829055)

    I keep seeing this referred to as "bad PR" or (as here) "ugly images" as though that's the problem. NO, YOU FUCKS! THE PROBLEM IS COPS BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF PEOPLE!

  • Can slashdot not find something better to do than repost news that we read two days ago on reddit? If I wanted another re-re-repost, reddit's already got me covered.
    • by idontgno (624372)

      In the immortal words of the Prophet, "You must be new here".

      Just wait until the story gets reposted here. And again, a couple of days later.

      After all, this sin't madness, it's Slashdot. Dupes of old news are not an option. They're standard equipment.

  • Nice try revising history, NYPD. But clearly you underestimated us. I welcome honest attempts at community outreach, but your propaganda will have to be a lot better to be effective.
  • by Baki (72515) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @11:42AM (#46833241)

    Times that policemen got respect automatically are over. The enforcement of unjust laws, such as most related to the war on drugs, undermines public respect for the police, at least amongst a large minority. I think that it the greatest danger of unjust or ineffective laws.

    The best thing the police could do to improve its image, would be to advocate the abolotion of unjust laws, even if these provide them with easy money.

  • Why are cops in cities terrible?
    Is it because of bad apples? ( Maybe, but even good cops still do jerk things)
    Is it because they have a lot of legal protection for bad behavior (maybe, but in the US you can get some restitution, and they can get punished)
    It's really because police are just giant revenue generating machines for the city.
    In order for a police officer to advance in his career, he is measured by the number of citations, summons, and arrests he has achieved.
    And if performance is based on the num

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