N.Y.P.D. Officials Deploy Aggressive Use of Force (on Social Media)

A newspaper columnist was accused of being “deceitful.” A lawyer and political activist was challenged to show her face at the funeral of a fallen officer. And a city councilwoman became the target of an apparent “vote her out” campaign.

The combative comments — all posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter — were nothing new for a site that has become synonymous with personal attacks and insults. What was unusual was the source: executives from the New York Police Department.

“The defund crowd who will cry ‘boo hoo’ to 9-1-1 when they need us,” John Chell, the chief of patrol, wrote on X on March 31, complaining about a critical column written by Harry Siegel of The Daily News. “The problem is that besides your flawed reporting is the fact that now we are calling you and your ‘latte’ friends out on their garbage.”

The aggressive stance — while consistent with the often antagonistic approach taken by Mayor Eric Adams and his circle of loyal aides — is a sharp departure from typical police protocol, and some former Police Department and city officials say many of the responses go too far.

But Mr. Adams and top police officials said the attacks would continue.

“We’re going to start pushing back and I think the issue is people aren’t used to it,” Chief Chell told reporters during a briefing this week. “I can tweet and fight crime at the same time.”

The latest and most extended example of the aggressive posture has centered on a series of attacks against Mr. Siegel, whose piece criticizing department leaders for crime on the subway ran the same day as the funeral of Jonathan Diller, a police officer killed in the line of duty.

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