by Mariah Castillo
|This may be what the NYPD had in mind, but the public had other ideas…|
Yesterday, the New York Police Department held a photo contest on Twitter, asking people to post pictures they have with the police and hashtag it with #myNYPD. While there were definitely a few people who posted nice pictures with New York’s finest, an overwhelming amount of people quickly made the hashtag into something you wouldn’t want to show to your kids.
#myNYPD became a trending topic on Twitter, mostly because of posts and retweets of police brutality. While some of these posts were there to make a raise (Occupy and other organizations on the more extreme sides of the political spectrum posted several interesting ones), most of them came from actual people. You really couldn’t look at the topic on Twitter without seeing someone getting hurt at the hands of the police.
The Police Department then released a statement about the incident, noting how Twitter is a place for “an open dialogue good for our city.” There was no explicit comment about the police brutality documented in the pictures. While this may seem like a PR attempt gone wrong (other people and groups who’ve done similar things on Twitter such as JP Morgan and R. Kelly faced the same problem) it should also be seen as a reminder that the system needs to be changed. My friend puts it as a self-perpetuating cycle: there are people who don’t believe the police is truly protecting them, and as this sentiment grows, fewer and fewer qualified and well-meaning people join the force, leading to incidents that decrease trust in the police even further. These photos are stark reminders of what the NYPD has come to symbolize to the people they’re supposed to serve: they don’t trust the police, especially after rape scandals and racial profiling, among other misdeeds. Only when real efforts have been made to gain the trust of the WHOLE city can #myNYPD actually be full of the nice group pics the department initially wanted.
Mariah Castillo is a sophomore at Barnard and the Food and New York Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Image courtesy of NBC New York.