The New York Police Department seems to have invited a flood of negative tweets with its #MyNYPD hashtag, including photos of alleged police brutality.
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton took to rhyme in explaining that often police "actions are lawful, but they look awful," Reuters reports. One of the more cringe-worthy images attached to #MyNYPD is an officer who appears to be ready to shoot a prone man's dog.
What does #MyNYPD reveal about police brutality and misconduct?
#MyNYPD Has Opposite of Intended Effect
The NYPD's official Twitter account went public Tuesday with its #MyNYPD hashtag, inviting New Yorkers to "submit pictures of themselves with NYPD cops using the hashtag #mynypd":
What followed was an avalanche of negative images involving NYPD officers, many of which were described as evidence of police brutality. Bratton noted to The Associated Press that while it wasn't exactly the reaction they had expected, the backlash isn't going to "change any of [the NYPD's] efforts to be very active on social media."
Going even further, Bratton said that he "kind of welcome[s] the attention," with more than 110,000 tweeters responding to the #MyNYPD campaign, reports the New York Daily News. It didn't take long for similar hashtags to crop up targeting police in metro areas like Los Angeles and Miami.
How to Deal With Police Misconduct
While venting on Twitter is a good way to give police departments a PR black eye, there are more effective ways of dealing with police misconduct:
- Police brutality. If you or someone you know is a victim of police brutality, including physical force and verbal assaults, you can seek justice with a civil rights lawsuit. In most cases, however, you will first need to file an administrative claim with the city before you can take your claim to federal or state court.
- Killing innocent civilians. It's unfortunate, but law enforcement officers do kill innocent people, and they can be charged with murder or wrongful death. Officers can even be held accountable for shooting dogs.
Using the #MyNYPD hashtag may be satisfying for those frustrated with the police, but it may not get victims the compensation or police reform they deserve.
- Well, the #MyNYPD hashtag sure backfired quickly (The Washington Post)
- 5 Steps For Filing a False Arrest Claim in NYC (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Cost of Lawsuits Against NYPD, City, Up Five Percent (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- When Are Police Allowed to Shoot, Kill Dogs? (FindLaw's Blotter)