New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly

NEW YORK  - The New York Police Department (NYPD) is eating extra helpings of humble pie after asking people to post images of themselves and NYPD officers on Twitter - only to face a deluge of pictures of alleged police brutality.

"Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook," Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted the department as saying on its NYPD News Twitter feed, hoping to fuel a feel-good, low-cost public relations campaign.

The result was anything but. Many of the images showed arrests of demonstrators during the Occupy Wall Street protests in lower Manhattan in 2011, 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, said the AFP report.

The Daily News reported that the #myNYPD hashtag quickly started trending on the Twitter-verse, generating over 10,000 responses in the hour after 4pm local time on Tuesday, an overwhelming amount of which were negative.No good can come from this, said Washington Post, but as US Airways and others have learned recently, its hard to take back a tweet.

Biba Adams tweeted: "The #myNYPD campaign will be taught in mad marketing classes next semester", while Temi Vargas posted: "I love what's happening with the #myNYPD hashtag. Police brutality should be exposed at all times."

Others were disturbed by NYPD's apparent failure to recognise the bigger problem of alleged illegal violence. "The fact that #myNYPD is being covered as a branding #fail rather than evidence of massive, systematic, illegal violence is the problem,'' tweeted JoshScann

The NYPD so far has yet to post any happy shots on its Facebook page from its request for public submissions.