TORONTO – A hashtag used to solicit questions for a CNN panel on policing in the U.S. backfired almost immediately Tuesday, with viewers responding with angry criticisms toward police.
World-wide protests over grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown or the chokehold death of Eric Garner have led to an on-going discussion about police brutality in the U.S.
A segment on CNN Tonight called “Cops Under Fire” attempted to seek questions from viewers for their panel of “five officers who have used deadly force” using the #AskACop hashtag.
The response was overwhelmingly negative with most tweets highlighting instances of excessive use of force by police among other criticisms.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) December 17, 2014
— christine nyland (@ChristineNyland) December 17, 2014
#AskACop What is departmental policy on pepper-spraying restrained people? Is 2 – 3 the limit, or can you do it til they die?
— Rights Matter (@TheBookman99) December 18, 2014
#AskACop Why can police officers lie on their reports but face no penalty when the truth is discovered? Don’t perjury laws go for everyone?
— Motivation & Advice (@WeMotivateAll) December 18, 2014
— Craig Mills (@cmnyctweet) December 18, 2014
You realize if you ask us to produce ID, we… uh have to get it, right? #AskACop
— 5’7 Black Male (@absurdistwords) December 18, 2014
— Jacoby (@DaneBossey) December 18, 2014
#AskACop Do you think they’ll ever stop making wallets, cell phones, Wii remotes, and black people’s hands look so much like guns?
— Popehat (@Popehat) December 17, 2014
#AskACop Ever consider that people who crave lethal authority over other people are exactly the wrong people to be allowed to wield it?
— Jeff Tiedrich (@jefftiedrich) December 17, 2014
— Jane Belfry (@janemagnitude) December 17, 2014
Grassroots Twitter campaigns have used the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe, #HandsUpDontShoot, #CrimingWhiteWhite to successfully open a dialogue about race and policing.
Host Don Lemmon as well as other CNN hosts continued to promote the hashtag, which began trending in both Canada and U.S. with nearly 130,000 tweets in just over a day.
The response continued to be incredibly negative, with many pointing to the disastrous NYPD Twitter campaign that asked users to share photos of themselves posing with officers.
— Saeed Oday (@THE_OdayAllDay) December 18, 2014
— K.M.G. Sebokolodi (@Theodialect) December 17, 2014
— DMR09 (@DMR09) December 17, 2014
— Jasmine Allyse (@JasmineAllyse) December 17, 2014
Others used the hashtag to ask questions about their own experiences with police officers.
#AskACop why they pulled their guns on me while i was on my stomach with my hands in the air. unarmed.
— lil putin (@Spocks_Bitch) December 18, 2014
#AskACop when my white friends ran that light why did you ask me to step out the vehicle and for my info, not the driver?
— Bloody Honey (@BloodyBHoney) December 17, 2014
— Alex Millard (@Hippoinatutu) December 18, 2014
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