Edits made to the Wikipedia pages of police violence victims have been linked to the New York Police Department’s computer network, reported Capital.
Users working through the NYPD’s computer network at the 1 Police Plaza headquarters have edited or tried to delete the Wikipedia pages of Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses associated with the edits were linked to the NYPD.
The edits were intended to make the victims look deserving of the officers’ aggressive treatment. Here are a few examples of the edits made on Eric Garner’s page:
“Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.”
“[P]ush Garner’s face into the sidewalk” was changed to “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.”
“Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” was changed to “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.”
The sentence, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was added to the description of the incident.
Instances of the word “chokehold” were replaced twice, once to “chokehold or headlock,” and once to “respiratory distress.”
In the case of Sean Bell, a user with an NYPD IP address attempted to delete the page entirely.
“He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore,” wrote the user on Wikipedia’s internal “Articles for deletion” page. “The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable.”
It’s obvious that several people who sympathize with police brutality are trying to portray these events in such a way that favors the NYPD. However, the NYPD has a long history of racism, violence, and corruption that a few edits on Wikipedia could never erase.