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NYPD tries to make nice on Twitter, makes a mess

With stunning naivete, the New York Police Department asks twitterers to post pictures of themselves with police officers. Go on, guess what happened.

2 min read

I don't think this is what the NYPD had in mind. Occupy Wall Street/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When you deeply believe that you're a force for good, it's sometimes easy to forget that not everyone agrees with you.

This is something that was experienced on Tuesday by the New York Police Department.

For reasons that might range from boredom to naivete, the NYPD decided to do what most people do when they have little else better: it created a hashtag.

This one was #myNYPD.

A charming thought, at first glance. However, the NYPD's Twitter Patrol started it with this message: "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook."

"Gosh" thought New Yorkers. "Finally I can be featured on the NYPD's Facebook page."

Oh, perhaps one or two did. Quite a few others thought this a splendid opportunity to plaster this hashtag with pictures of police officers being less than lovable to their fellow man.

The folks at Occupy Wall Street, for example, decided to contribute several images of New York's finest not quite at their finest.

To this, they added this tweet: "Anyone want to guess what Criminal Charges the #SocialMedia folks behind @NYPDNews are getting for this #EPICFAIL? #myNYPD."

More pictures rolled in, the less flattering seeming to overwhelm the flattering.

There was the bloodied face of an 84-year-old man allegedly smacked around by the NYPD after allegedly jaywalking. (He's now filing a $5 million lawsuit.)

There were countless images of NYPD officers getting physical with arrestees, demonstrators, and others.

Clearly, some of this was organized. How could it not have been, given the gullible invitation offered up by the NYPD's Social Media Force?

As with any police force, the NYPD does good but isn't always known for its fair judgment.

What's quite peculiar in this instance is that someone -- anyone -- thought that this initiative would lead only to the mass posting of smiley shots of citizens with police officers.

Perhaps there's hope, though, in this very event.

Isn't good to know that there is someone in your police department whose default is to give you the benefit of the doubt?

Oh. Occupy Wall Street/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Oh, no. Cassandra/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET