Police Plaza edited Wikipedia pages of victims

Computer users working on the NYPD headquarters' network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations going back to 200, Kelly Weill reported on the Capital website on 13 March 2015.

"NYPD IP addresses have also been used to edit entries on stop-and-frisk, NYPD scandals, and prominent figures in the city's political and police leadership," Weill declared.

The victims included Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo, she noted.

"On the evening of Dec. 3, hours after a Staten Island grand jury ruled not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a user on the 1 Police Plaza network made multiple edits, visible here and here, to the 'Death of Eric Garner Wikipedia entry."

Capital turned to its computer expertise to track the changes. "Edits from 1 Police Plaza were made anonymously, therefore creating a permanent Wikipedia log of edits made on NYPD IP addresses. Using this information, Capital was able to write a computer program that would search Wikipedia for all anonymous edits made on the range of IP addresses registered to 1 Police Plaza."

One edit it found, Weill said, was: "On Nov. 25, 2006, undercover NYPD officers fired 50 times at three unarmed men, killing Sean Bell, and sparking citywide protests against police brutality. On April 12, 2007, a user on 1 Police Plaza’s network attempted to delete the Wikipedia entry “Sean Bell shooting incident'."

Wikipedia guidelines frown on but do not explicitly ban edits that involve a conflict of interest. Capital quotes: "COI editing involves contributing to Wikipedia to promote your own interests, including your business or financial interests, or those of your external relationships, such as with family, friends or employers. COI editing is strongly discouraged.”

Sources

Capital New York »