NYPD Caught Editing Eric Garner Wikipedia Pages, Along With Other Police Brutality Victims (IMAGES)

The NYPD has just been outed doing something completely unethical (is that any surprise these days?). An IP address linked to thousands of edits on Wikipedia pages — all related to cases against the NYPD — has been traced back to 1 Police Plaza, which is the address of the NYPD’s headquarters.

Not all of these NYPD-made corrections raised red flags, but the tracking of this IP address revealed “hundreds” of manipulated Wikipedia pages, many of which related to police conduct. To make matters worse, three of these altered Wikipedia pages were very high-profile cases involving police brutality deaths. One of the pages was about Eric Garner.

It was found that shortly after a grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold — a move that resulted in Garner’s death, the NYPD made the following edits to Garner’s Wikipedia article:

● “Garner raised both his arms in the air” became “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.”

● “Push Garner’s face into the sidewalk” was edited to say “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.”

● “Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” now says “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.”

● In the description of the incident, the NYPD added, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them.”

● In the two instances where the article originally said “chokehold,” it was changed to “chokehold or headlock” and then “respiratory distress.”

Photo Credit: Capital New York

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Screenshot)

Clearly, the NYPD is trying to take the brutality out of the truth and is using softer, more flowery language to make the facts vague and less shocking. In another edited Wikipedia page, an NYPD computer user tried to delete the article about Sean Bell, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed on his wedding day by undercover cops. The entry was named “Sean Bell shooting incident” and this is what the NYPD user wrote on Wikipedia’s “Articles for deletion”:

“He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable.”

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Screenshot)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Screenshot)

The Eric Garner and Sean Bell incidents are just two amongst many changes that were made to other articles regarding high-profile police shootings, scandals and the mishandling of policies like “stop-and-frisk.” It was found that entire categories from the NYPD’s own Wikipedia page — such as the “Allegations of police misconduct and the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)” section, had been completely deleted.

According to NYPD spokesperson Det. Cheryl Crispin, the department isn’t sure who the responsible user/users are for the edits, but the matter is being investigating.

Photo Credit: Capital New York

Photo Credit: Capital New York

Wikipedia’s rules advise against edits that are biased. Sometimes, IP addresses are banned for editing their own Wikipedia pages. In its guidelines, Wikipedia states:

“COI [conflict of interest] editing involves contributing to Wikipedia to promote your own interests, including your business or financial interests, or those of your external relationships, such as with family, friends or employers. COI editing is strongly discouraged.”

What do you think should be done about the NYPD’s edits? If you’d like to see the full list of changes that were made by the various NYPD IP addresses, you can see it here.


Featured image courtesy of Capital New York.