NYPD Responds to #ICantBreathe with #WeHearYou and Faces Backlash

nypd-policeThe NYPD has fallen prey to another Twitter miscue after a high-ranking officer responded to community outrage over a grand jury’s decision declining to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

After the grand jury released its decision on Wednesday, protesters in New York City took to the streets while #EricGarner and #ICantBreathe trended on Twitter.

Chief of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau Joanne Jaffe tweeted Wednesday afternoon:

By midday Thursday, the hashtag had been hijacked, with tweets like these:

The NYPD tweet comes after the department sent its top officers to “Twitter school” in September, where they were cautioned to refrain from reactive responses and encouraged to laud community groups, send out wanted posters and post crime stats, according to the New York Post. This decision came on the heels of #myNYPD’s backfire in April.

The lesson here for communicators of any rank and market is that you may not want to fight fire with fire. Although the critical response to the jury decision continues to gain ground and cohesion through Twitter and its hashtag system, the NYPD only opened itself up for more negative sentiment by giving users an easy way to attack the department.

In any potential crisis, the best response may not be to respond immediately, however necessary it may seem. In a situation as politically charged as this, the department may have seen more effective communication after some time had passed, which would also allow them to deliver a more prudent and encompassing response that would address the nuances and intricacies enveloping the situation.

  • YourPRmother

    Acknowledging the public outcry is the best thing the NYPD could do. Obviously it’s not going to fix everything but it acknowledges the wrong doing and the willingness to solve the problem. Stop inserting your political bias into this crisis management recommendation.

    • GaiaLogic

      You think this shows willingness? The NYPD is known around the world for being brutal. This is not a new problem, they have had plenty of opportunities over the last decade and more to actually DO something about it. Instead, they try social media bullshit to deflect attention and give the vague impression that they give a damn.

      This is a cynical attempt to make it appear as though they actually care, they have consistently shown that they don’t. Your police forces are no longer serving and protecting the people, they have become a violent occupying force.

  • GaiaLogic

    Their Twitter and social media efforts for public relations are all just more insulting when they can’t even do their jobs correctly, according to law, using as little force as possible and while absolutely refusing to SERVE and PROTECT their public.

    Hey NYPD, maybe if you weren’t fu**ing up every single day or murdering innocent people on the street you wouldn’t NEED to spend so much time and effort defending yourselves and creating social media propaganda to excuse your fu**ing brutality?

    We all still remember the images of Occupy, your macing of innocent women, dragging women by the hair, running over peoples feet, beating people with billy clubs, and your attempts to stop any accountability afterwards, trying to get the videos removed from YouTube and Twitter to block hashtags.

  • Alan Poirier

    Good PR would be to admit you’re wrong and that police were negligent.