It’s getting harder to rewrite history in the digital era, as the New York Police Department discovered this week as a Twitter account caught someone seemingly within their premises in the act of altering a Wikipedia page to remove references to police brutality.
A bot that tracks edits made to Wikipedia articles from IP addresses inside 1 Police Plaza, NYPDh headquarters, clocked an edit tothe entry about the department itself yesterday.
New York City Police Department Wikipedia article edited by the NYPD https://t.co/DvWxr9rVEQ
The NYPD has a culture of retaliation against whistleblowers; in one such prominent instance, in 2009, NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft was abducted by his fellow officers and involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital after he provided evidence of manipulation of crime statistics (intentional underreporting of crimes) and intentional wrongful arrests (to meet arrest quotas).
Yet post-edit, the paragraph was heavily sanitised, instead recounting:
The NYPD has an extensive history of reducing crime in the most diverse city in the country. The Operation impact program, which placed new police officers in high crime areas to combat the growing street violence using the broken windows theory was reformed in January of 2014.
The NCO (Neighborhood Community Officer) program was then created to bridge the gap between the community and the NYPD, a comprehensive crime-fighting strategy built on improved communication and collaboration between local police officers and community residents.
Neighborhood Policing greatly increases connectivity and engagement with the community without diminishing, and, in fact, improving the NYPD’s crime-fighting capabilities . These new age methods in combination with uniformed patrol and plain clothes units who were responsible for 95% of the illegal firearm and recovery and arrest of individuals subsequently reduced the city’s crime rate.
All the efforts taken by officers during this time were thwarted during protests amid the police involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The NYPD anti-crime unit was disbanded in July of 2020 amid protests. Although the community calls for the defunding and abolishment of the NYPD  the members continue to protect the city.
City council members have blamed the increase in shootings and homicides on the Mayors decision to cut funding, which they backed up .
References to police brutality were removed, celebrations of NYPD policing methods were put in and BLM protesters were seemingly blamed for “thwarting” the efforts of NYPD officers to fight crime.
Quite the different perspective.
Wikipedia editors quickly restored the original text and references to police brutality though.
The clumsy attempt to improve the NYPD's public image was ridiculed by social media users, who quickly suspected the institution as responsible for the edits.
It's hilarious they thought this would work, the new article read like a press release. Wasn't subtle at all. https://t.co/AE0MDpV9Bw