NYPD's #WeHearYou tweet backfires after Eric Garner grand jury decision

Die-In At NYC Grand Central Terminal After Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision
Die-In At NYC Grand Central Terminal After Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision


Previous New York Police Department attempts at social media community outreach have not gone well, and a Wednesday tweet about the Eric Garner grand jury decision may have been rock bottom.

The department's @NYPDCommAffairs Twitter account sent out a tweet with the hashtag #WeHearYou. The resulting backlash trended across the United States in the hours after it was announced there would be no indictment in Garner's death while in police custody.

Garner, 43, died in July after being placed in an apparent chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo while appearing to resist an arrest for selling individual cigarettes, often called "loosies."

Video uploaded to YouTube the following day catalogued the entire incident, including Garner's final words -- desperate pleas for help.

"I can't breathe," he repeatedly said while officer stood by and did little to assist him.

Thousands of people lined up to take shots at the department, some going back decades -- in reference to the Amadou Diallo shooting -- other just telling the police to "end open-season" on African Americans.

Many also fired comments along the lines of "unless you say 'I can't breathe' over and over."

Several tweets contained profanity, some with references to forced sex acts. At least one person threatened the deaths of NYPD officers.

Many called for police to be fired, one wanted the whole department gutted.

A trends map from about 3:30 p.m. showed the hashtag mockingly trending from coast-to-coast, and just about everywhere in between.

The unfortunate tweet is the latest in a series of social media fiascos for the NYPD.

An April photo contest quickly turned ugly after the "City's Finest" asked people to tweet photos with the #MyNYPD hashtag.

Another misstep occurred when an officer with the Midtown South precinct boasted on Twitter of arresting Elmo in Times Square.

Related links:
NYC cop in videotaped death: No intent to harm
Politicians, celebrities react to Eric Garner grand jury decision against indictment
'That's ridiculous': NBA great Charles Barkley again rails against notion cops purposely kill blacks