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Eric Garner
Eric Garner

NYPD officers edited Eric Garner's Wikipedia page

It seems likely that they'll only face minor punishment

It's been revealed that officers working from NYPD computers edited a Wikipedia page called "The Death Of Eric Garner" in order to make it more cop-friendly. The sentence "Garner raised both his hands in the air" was changed to "Garner flailed both his arms about as he spoke", an edit intended to add a sense of Garner's "threat".

"Use of the chokehold is prohibited" was edited to "use of the chokehold is legal, but prohibited" and perhaps most gallingly, the sentence, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them."

You'd think that re-editing the history of a man who died needlessly at the hands of over-aggressive police officers would be cause for heavy punishment, but in line with America's justice system looking favourably on cops, it appears that they'll face just a warning.

DNAinfo reports that in an unrelated press conference Commissioner Bill Bratton said: "Two officers, who have been identified, were using department equipment to access Wikipedia and make entries. I don’t anticipate any punishment, quite frankly."

Given that it's not illegal to edit Wikipedia should you believe something to be inaccurate, the officers will not face sanctions, although you'd think that the NYPD may be a little more apologetic given that one of its officers already choked Garner to death.

Further edits were found to have been made to other Wikipedia pages on police brutality in order to make them more pro-cop. This isn't the first time the powers-that-be have muddied the Wikipedia waters in a bid to soften the language of wrongdoing. In December, someone from the US Senate tried to erase the word "torture" from the CIA's page. Yeah, try getting that one out of history.

Similarly in the UK, government computers were found to have altered the Wikipedia pages of Jean Charles de Menezes and Damilola Taylor in order to make the articles more sympathetic to our poor old government.

New York mayor Bill De Blasio criticised the edits, saying: "We are quite clear that when you are using city computers it is supposed to be for city business. This was not authorized business."