Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Suspicion of the New York Police Department runs deep in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. And so when the department asked Twitter users to post pictures of themselves with officers — and instead of posting smiling tourist pictures, users tweeted out photos of police officers tussling with protesters — Bed-Stuy residents weren't surprised.
Thirty-year-old Meek Jaffe, walking down Tompkins Avenue with a friend, said she couldn't recall any positive experiences she's had with cops — and that's true for most of the people she knows. "The history of police to civilian relationships hasn't been a good one and so when you want to implement a friendly relationship it doesn't happen overnight," she said. "It has to happen authentically."
Meek Jaffe (on right) with Simone Meyers. (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)
Another local, Naquana Bellamy, said she wouldn't have a friendly photo to post to Twitter, because she hasn't seen any warmth or openness from the NYPD. "I think they could do better," she said. "They don't need to just tweet — like, get to know the people in your community, 'Hi, how are you,' blah, blah — not just, you know, walking in groups, looking at everyone like they're suspect."
Maurice Buchanan (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)
But not all residents were critical. Maurice Buchanan, 28, said, "I think it will get better. After awhile, people will start seeing they really are friendly and are really trying to help us out in the community."
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that most of the photos show "officers engaged lawfully in their communities." He said the NYPD will keep tweeting.