Police Commissioner Bratton Brushes Off NYPD Twitter Backlash

By Colby Hamilton on April 23, 2014 5:00pm 

 Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he will continue to push the agency's presence on social media on April 23, 2014.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he will continue to push the agency's presence on social media on April 23, 2014.
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William Alatriste for the New York City Council

CIVIC CENTER — The NYPD’s plan to "catch the wave" of social media will continue unabated, despite a massive Twitter backlash after the department introduced the #myNYPD campaign, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday.

“Was that particular reaction from some of the police adversaries anticipated? To be quite frank, it was not, but at the same time, it doesn’t require us to change any of our efforts to be very active going forward,” Bratton told reporters at an unrelated press conference at City Hall Wednesday.

His comments came day after Occupy Wall Street protesters and others responded to the department's Twitter request "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD," by sending in a flood of photos of officers handling people in violent or aggressive ways.

"We’re continuing that campaign. The campaign hasn’t stopped,” Bratton insisted, referring to the Twitter backlash as nothing more than a “brooha,” a phrase he said was Bostonian.

“Most of those photos that I looked at, they’re old news. They’ve been out there for a long time,” he said. “The reality of policing is that, often times, our activities are lawful, but they look awful. That’s the reality.”

He said the idea for the campaign came after someone sent in a photo of a transit officer guiding a blind woman across the street, which drew approximately a half million clicks within three hours, he said.

Bratton said the negative response won't convince the NYPD to back off of its online outreach, saying he's a “strong supporter and advocate of the social media” and adding that he plans to “move aggressively” to “continue to expand our activities in that area.”

To make his point, Bratton took a pause in his remarks to use his BlackBerry to snap a picture of the array of reporters in front of him.

“Perfect,” he said, “You’re now going to be tweeted.”

The #myNYPD Twitter campaign will continue to ask the public to share their photos with police officers, Bratton said.

“If anything, I welcome the extra attention,” he said.