December 17, 2014 11:04 pm
Updated: December 17, 2014 11:12 pm

CNN’s #AskACop hashtag backfires, sparks outrage over police violence

National Guard troops secure the police station in Ferguson, Missouri, a day after violent protests and looting following the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black teenager Michael Brown.

AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad

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.

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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.

Others used the hashtag to ask questions about their own experiences with police officers.

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