The NYPD learned the risks of staring a Twitter campaign on Tuesday when they started the hashtag #MyNYPD, only to have New Yorkers use the hashtag to publicize NYPD misconduct.

The NYPD’s official Twitter handle, @NYPDnews, started the hashtag ‘MyNYPD’ on Tuesday, April 22, asking the public to share photos with NYPD officers using the hashtag. Especially heartwarming photos, they promised, would be featured on their official Facebook page.

“Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,” they wrote.

The campaign, clearly meant to inspire a wave of good PR for the Police Department backfired majorly when it became a trending topic full of tweets highlighting stories of police brutality. It didn’t help that Occupy Wall Street quickly caught wind of the hashtag and encouraged users to share photos of police misconduct.

Many used the hashtag to critique New York’s controversial ‘Stop and Frisk’ policy and expose instances of police brutality.

The NYPD released a statement about the hashtag, without actively addressing the negative feedback it inspired, saying, “The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provide an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”

The hashtag soon spread across the country to include instances of police misconduct from cities around the world, with #myLAPD, #myOPD (Oakland PD) and #myCPD (Chicago) gaining traction in the US. Greece also joined the hashtag on police brutality, making a ‘#myELAS.’

Though the campaign did manage to receive a few positive responses, the NYPD has yet to upload any photos from the #myNYPD to their Facebook.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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