NEW YORK - Computers on the New York City Police Department's network were used to edit Wikipedia entries for high-profile alleged police brutality cases like the deaths of Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, according to a report from Capital New York.
A spokesperson for the NYPD told 48 Hours' Crimesider in an email that the department is investigating "what member of the service may have accessed the Department's server," but said that "the incidents did not originate from computers located at Police Headquarters."
Capital New York reports that just hours after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a man who died after officers used force to try to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes, a user on the NYPD network made changes to the "Death of Eric Garner" Wikipedia page. Among those changes, the news site reports, was the addition of the sentence, "Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them."
The news site reports that in December 2009 a user on the NYPD network edited the entry for Sean Bell, who was shot and killed by police officers in 2006 in Queens on the night before his wedding. A user reportedly changed the line "one Latino and two African-American men were shot a total of fifty times" to "one Latino and two African-American men were shot at a total of fifty times." [bold added]
And in December 2013, another user on the 1 Police Plaza network reportedly changed the entry for the death of Amadou Diallo, an immigrant who was shot and killed by police officers who mistook his wallet for a weapon, according to the news site. Capital New York reports that the sentence, "Officer Kenneth Boss had been previously involved in an incident where an unarmed man was shot, but remained working as a police officer" was changed to "Officer Kenneth Boss had been previously involved in an incident where an armed man was shot."
Capital New York also reports that a user on the 1 Police Plaza network made multiple edits to the Wikipedia entry for "Stop and Frisk."
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