They wanted pictures like this: Civilians cheerfully interacting with police. But this is the kind of photo they're getting. Oh this can't be good.
It all began with this Twitter request from the New York City Police Department: "Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us and tag it #mynypd. It may be featured on our Facebook."
But the request backfired bigtime. Photos were posted but they were not the kind the NYPD had in mind. In fact, they were photos of cops busting civilians. Within hours it was the top trending topic on Twitter—in the world.
See What New Yorkers Had To Say About the NYPD's Social Media Problem
These are the images that started streaming in. Many showed protestors being roughed-up during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations from 2011. Others showed police at other events in less-than-flattering photos.
And now, the grassroots protest is spreading to Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland. It's even gone international. One image was tweeted from Greece.
New York's police commissioner Bill Bratton says his department will not stop using social media because of this hiccup.
Bratton said at a press conference, "We'll continue to expand our activites in that area. Actually, if you don't mind, I need a Facebook photos of all of you," as Bratton took a photo with a cell phone.