A person/people inside 1 Police Plaza (the headquarters of the New York City Police Department) made several Wikipedia edits reports Capital New York. Their IP address – a unique set of numbers for each Internet connection – appeared on pages related to cases of alleged police brutality.
For Eric Garner’s death, the entry now says that he died of “respiratory distress” rather than by “chokehold” (which was caught on tape), and the police now “push[ed] Garner’s head down into the sidewalk” rather than “[p]ush Garner’s face into the sidewalk.”
This is not the first time that people from 1 Police Plaza have edited such contentious Wikipedia articles. In 2013, someone with the IP address edited an article about Amadou Diallo who was shot 41 times in 1999. The entry now says that he was armed – he wasn’t – and it doesn’t mention that the officer who shot him still works for the NYPD.
And in 2013, people scaled down the language in articles about stop-and-frisk, a practice deemed racist by the American Civil Liberties Union. The article now says that policemen conduct the operation only “if the circumstances of the stop warrant it” rather than just being “a practice of the [NYPD] to stop, question, and search people.” The edit further justifies stop-and-frisk by adding that it can happen if “a police officer who reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony.”
The matter is now under internal investigation.