An NYPD social media campaign backfired when the police department asked New Yorkers for photos with cops and Twitter erupted with unflattering pictures of officers making arrests, tangling with citizens and in some cases wielding their weapons.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday disputed the idea that the effort was a failure, saying he welcomed the images, and that sometimes police work isn't pretty.
"Send us your photos, good or bad," he said. "I welcome the extra attention."
The department on Tuesday asked followers on its official Twitter account, @NYPDNews, to post photos of themselves with officers:
"Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD."
The #myNYPD hashtag quickly took off when people began tweeting photos that the NYPD would probably rather not highlight. The hashtag became a trending topic, drawing responses from around the world.
Many of the photos showed the NYPD wrestling with demonstrators and pointing or swinging weapons at civilians.
Bratton said Wednesday that the images didn't necessarily portray police misconduct, saying this is the kind of work police officers do.
The tweets accompanying the photos were often negative and sarcastic.
"The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair," read one tweet accompanying a photo of officers pulling a woman's hair as she was in handcuffs.
"Need a lift? The #NYPD's got you! Free Delivery, only at #myNYPD" read another, with a photo showing a man being carried by officers from his arms and legs.
In a statement on Tuesday, the NYPD defended its campaign, saying it was "creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community."
"Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city," the statement read.
— Daniel Stuckey (@danstuckey) April 22, 2014
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) April 22, 2014
--Melissa Russo contributed to this story