Wikipedia Edits To Pages On New York Police Killings Traced To NYPD Headquarters: Report (UPDATED)

03/13/2015 11:19 am ET | Updated Mar 16, 2015

Revisions to Wikipedia entries about black men killed by New York City police officials came from computers in the department's headquarters, a new report reveals.

Users at 1 Police Plaza edited articles on Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and other police controversies in what appears to be an attempt to downplay police accountability in each incident, according to Capital New York.

Capital traced the edits using Internet Protocol addresses, or IP addresses, linked to 1 Police Plaza, the NYPD's headquarters.

Over the last decade, Capital found hundreds of edits by users at the NYPD headquarters, "many of which had nothing to do with police issues."

In one example, hours after a grand jury declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Garner, a user at 1 Police Plaza made these edits:

● “Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.”

● “[P]ush Garner's face into the sidewalk” was changed to “push Garner's head down into the sidewalk.”

● “Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” was changed to “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.”

● The sentence, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was added to the description of the incident.

● Instances of the word “chokehold” were replaced twice, once to “chokehold or headlock,” and once to “respiratory distress.”


A NYPD spokesperson denied that the edits were made by someone using computers at 1 Police Plaza.

"We are conducting an internal investigation to identify what member of the service may have accessed the Department’s server," Stephen Davis, NYPD deputy commissioner of public information said in an email to The Huffington Post. "These incidents did not originate from computers located at Police Headquarters."

Wikipedia discourages people from editing articles based on their point of view and "will, on occasion, ban IP addresses for making edits to their own Wikipedia pages," Mediaite notes.

In 2009, Wikipdia blocked computers owned by the Church of Scientology because of self-serving edits.

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