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NYPD commissioner responds to Twitter hashtag disaster: 'I welcome the attention'

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Casey Aldridge / Twitter

The commissioner of the New York Police Department was unruffled by the ugly photos of police violence that flooded Twitter yesterday in response to a tweet from the agency. "I kind of welcome the attention," Commissioner Bill Bratton told the New York Daily News. "We really broke the numbers yesterday."

Just before 2PM, the @NYPDnews account tweeted, "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook." The hashtag rapidly turned into a "bashtag," as the Associated Press put it, with Occupy Wall Street and other activists tweeting their unflattering photos of cops using violence. Soon, #myNYPD became one of Twitter's top trending topics.

Reportedly, no one has been punished for the social media disaster that highlighted an organization with a history of abuse. The photos are "old news," Bratton said. "They’ve been out there for a long time." Despite some reports of internal dissent, the agency has no plans to stop using the #myNYPD hashtag or social media. To be fair, there were a number of photos on the hashtag of citizens posing peacefully with NYPD members.

The NYPD isn't the first to suffer backlash from an ill-advised hashtag. In 2012, McDonald's had to pull a Twitter advertising campaign when tweeters starting writing on its #McDStories hashtag with jokes about marijuana and diabetes.