Only days after a grand jury failed to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Staten Island father of six Eric Garner, the department is now preparing to host a pro-cop rally at New York’s City Hall next week in what appears to be a monumental PR misstep.
Police departments all across the nation have been subjected to serious scrutiny after incidents of police brutality surfaced and caught national attention, but no department was criticized quite as seriously as the ones in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.
The NYPD has had a long track record of using excessive force against citizens and statistics have proven that stop-and-risk policies for more than a decade targeted almost exclusively Black and Latino residents, the overwhelming majority of whom weren’t guilty of any crimes.
One would think the NYPD, perhaps more than any other department, would be focused on mending its relationship with the community.
Instead, they are coming together to celebrate what they consider to be years of great police work—and have even decided to use the hashtag #ThankYouNYPD for their rally.
Reports indicate that massive banners have already been made with “ThankYouNYPD” on them and on December 19 these banners will be seen floating around New York City to commemorate the men in blue.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that he would be working to mend the relationship between the officers and the community but such a rally at this particular time will surely make the mayor’s job more difficult.
While the hashtag was supposed to help bring together social media users who were grateful for the NYPD, as you might expect the hashtag has been twisted by users expressing what the department has really done for them.
“#ThankyouNYPD for helping me understand what it’s like to experience trauma and live with PTSD,” one user tweeted.
“ThankyouNYPD for planting false evidence in order to arrest the man who recorded the Eric Garner video #noprints,” another young lady tweeted.
Another user thanked the NYPD for “not policing Wall Street crooks at all” and another thanked them for “showing the world that systemic racism in America is still as much of an issue now as it was in ’64.”
Along with the tweet came a picture of officers back in the 60s putting a young Black man in a chokehold.
One user was surprised that the department hadn’t learned from their past mistakes.
“A #ThankYouNYPD hashtag??? Loooool they still haven’t learned,” another tweet read.
The tweet was a reference to an earlier social media campaign by the NYPD that also backfired due to the department’s poor relationship with the community.
The NYPD launched #MyNYPD earlier this year and the campaign was originally meant for people to share photos of themselves with their friendly neighborhood police officers.
So social media users of all races obliged and shared their memories of the time they spent with the NYPD.
But the pictures weren’t citizens hugging it out or high-fiving the officers.
“Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,” the NYPD twitter account wrote.
One man responded with a photo of an officer sitting on top of him and twisting his arm behind his back while pushing his face into the ground along with the caption “Yours truly.”
The captions took on a sarcastic tone and jokingly described the images of officers attacking and beating New York residents.
“Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time. #myNYPD,” one user wrote with an image of an officer about to swing his baton at a nearby resident.
Another image shows a police officer running over a man’s leg with a motorcycle.
The caption reads, “And we’re going to have to run you over, just for good measure. #myNYPD.”
Other users opted out of the sarcastic captions.
Images of an officer pulling a Black woman’s hair while she was already in handcuffs, stomping on another man’s neck who also already in handcuffs and another person in a hospital bed with a swollen, red face, a Black eye, in a neck brace, and gashes across the forehead after an encounter with the NYPD all hit the web along with the #MyNYPD hashtag.