Photos are still trickling in to the hashtag #myNYPD — and have spread across the country — a day after the New York Police Department’s Twitter campaign for pro-department photos backfired royally.
But Commissioner Bill Bratton’s response is simple: It is what it is.
On Tuesday morning, the official Twitter page of the NYPD asked people to send photos of themselves with cops and tag them #myNYPD. But the response was anything but desired.
More than 60 photos were uploaded within the first 24 hours, most of which showed police officers arresting, beating or pepper spraying civilians. One photo pictured police writing up a Minnie Mouse character in Times Square.
When asked about it Wednesday Bratton whipped out his Blackberry and snapped a photo of reporters. He said he would later tweet it.
“Most of those photos that I looked at, they’re old news, they’ve been out there for a long time,” Bratton said. “The reality of policing is that oftentimes our activities are lawful but they look awful. And that’s the reality. As I look at a lot of those photos, those officers engaged lawfully in their activities. So what we’re trying to do is be more open and more transparent, and we are going to engage in everything that will allow us to do that, including expanding use of Twitter and tweets.”
The hashtag has spread cross-country, as people began tweeting with #myLAPD. Dozens of images were posted by Wednesday afternoon for the Los Angeles-based effort.
Photos included the infamous University of California, Davis cop pepper spraying a group of Occupy protesters, a truck with several bullet holes and a man with blood dripping from his face.
Still, some New York photos showed positive police interactions, including one that a woman uploaded of her in a Rangers sweatshirt and an officer smiling.
Deputy Chief Kim Royster responded to the backlash in an e-mail on Tuesday evening.
“The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community,” she said. “Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”