NYPD Edits Wikipedia Entries On Eric Garner, Other Police Brutality Victims
March 14, 2015

Someone should let the NYPD know that rewriting a Wikipedia entry doesn't mean they're rewriting history.


The New York Police Department has anonymously edited and tried to delete Wikipedia pages about police brutality victims, Capital New York has discovered. Edits coming from 1 Police Plaza headquarters targeted pages for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo.

NYPD IP addresses were used to edit the Wikipedia page on the “Death of Eric Garner,” who was killed by police chokehold and inspired massive nationwide protests in the fall. Capital New York found that the department changed “Garner raised both his arms in the air” to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” and added the sentence “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” among other changes.

Someone at the NYPD also tried to delete the article on Sean Bell, an unarmed man who was gunned down by officers firing 50 bullets in 2006, arguing that “no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore.” The user wrote, “The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable.”

The NYPD also edited entries about the police force’s stop-and-frisk policy deemed unconstitutional in 2013, as well as a number of unrelated articles, including “Four Loko,” “Sailor Moon,” and “Croissant.”

The edits and deletion attempts reflect the NYPD’s sometimes clumsy response to the increased scrutiny in the wake of controversies over stop-and-frisk, their treatment ofOccupy Wall Street activists, and most recently, the crackdown on #BlackLivesMatter protesters.

It's mind-boggling that whoever edited these pages didn't realize IPs actually do point back to the editors. It's time for police to learn a bit more about technology and the Internet along with how to handle confrontations with citizens without killing them.

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