NYPD Twitter PR backfires

PR spinners at the New York Police Department are probably considering new careers after an attempt to make police officers “more human” after a Twitter campaign backfired incredibly.

The NYPD image is problematic. Its officers have a history of showing that law and order involves beating people up for no reason such as this case and this one and this one etc. So what could possibly go wrong with a nice campaign on Twitter asking people to send in pictures of them and NYPD officers?

“Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook,” the department posted on its NYPD News Twitter feed.

In minutes, images and tweets of many arrests of demonstrators went viral, including such presumed lowlights as an officer pulling the hair of a handcuffed young black woman and another of the bloodied face of an 84-year-old stopped for jaywalking.

One image showing police after striking a protestor brought the remark “Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time”.

Also largely criticised was the unpopular “stop and frisk” policy, which many argue unfairly targets minority youth.

So far, there has been a lack of any laughing policemen photographs under the hashtag. Perhaps someone should have told the PR’s how Twitter works.