Last week, we found out that someone at New York Police Department headquarters was manipulating Wikipedia articles on police violence to make themselves look better. The NYPD has identified two officers behind the police-friendly entries—and is doing shit-all about these on-the-clock edits.
The police-altered Wikipedia entries changed language to gloss over a variety of incidents where the NYPD looked bad. For instance: trying to delete a page about Sean Bell, who was killed by the police, and removing the word "chokehold" from the Wikipedia entry of Eric Garner, who was also killed by the police.
DNAInfo spoke to sources who said the veteran officers will not receive anything more than a slap on the wrist. That sentiment was echoed in public statements:
Two officers, who have been identified, were using department equipment to access Wikipedia and make entries," Commissioner Bill Bratton said at an unrelated press conference on Monday afternoon. "I don't anticipate any punishment, quite frankly," he added.
Now, there were no laws broken here. And even though Wikipedia advises against conflict-of-interest entries, the crowdsourced information service allows people to edit entries with whatever crazy bullshit propaganda they want, with the assumption that the crowd will correct falsehoods. So it's not like the officers were going to get a fine, or even kicked off Wikipedia.
But make no mistake: Public servants used government computers to attempt to blue-wash history to suit an official narrative that downplays state violence, and the NYPD couldn't give less of a shit if it was on Imodium. [DNAInfo]