A Harlem NYPD precinct proved a social media fan of QAnon conspiracy theories and liked multiple tweets from President Donald Trump — including one pushing a bogus argument about vote-by-mail fraud.
The 26th Precinct Twitter account also liked tweets claiming that the media and a major online furniture site are involved in some kind of global child sex trafficking ring. Another favorited post showed names and pictures of numerous left-leaning celebrities — and declared them pedophiles.
“I was shocked when I saw that stuff,” said Dan McSweeney, a community activist associated with the Morningside Heights Community Coalition.
McSweeney said he raised the rogue social media posts with one of the precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers, whom, he said, told him the Twitter account had been hacked. The officer did not respond to an email seeking comment.
All Det. Denise Moroney, a NYPD spokesperson, would say was: “The incident was looked into and addressed internally.”
The likes were removed after THE CITY inquired about the posts.
It is unclear who handles the 26th Precinct’s Twitter account, though many are run by the precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers, an NYPD source said.
The Rev. Stephan Marshall, a liaison to the Rev. Al Sharpton, urged Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to probe the tweets and make his findings public.
“It’s very, very insensitive,” said Marshall, of Sharpton’s National Action Network. “Who controls these accounts?”
In the Heart of Harlem
The 26th Precinct, located on 125th Street, covers much of the west side from 110th Street to 141st Street, encompassing part of Harlem, and all of Morningside Heights and Manhattanville.
All told, the precinct’s Twitter account liked seven Trump tweets, including a video posted by the president on June 27 that claims “In Democrat-controlled cities across the USA violent mobs of liberals are rioting and looting.”
The precinct account also liked a Trump tweet that lied about coronavirus deaths being “way down.”
“Mortality rate is one of the lowest in the World,” he tweeted on June 25. “Our Economy is roaring back and will NOT be shut down. ‘Embers’ or flare ups will be put out, as necessary!”
At least 121,900 Americans had died from COVID-19 by that time. The United States has the fourth highest death rate per-100,000 population out of the 20 countries hit hardest by COVID-19, according to John Hopkins University research.
The first off-message social media like from the precinct came on March 28 when someone tweeted speculation that the U.S. Comfort, the Navy’s floating hospital, left New York’s Pier 90 in a “Q” formation on April 30. That post supported QAnon conspiracy theories.
Twitter last month yanked thousands of accounts that posted messages about the conspiracy theories, including the one with the supposed map of the U.S. Comfort leaving New York.
‘Inappropriate and Intolerable’
Trump has enjoyed support from some rank-and-file cops and union leaders. On Friday, Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, met with the president during the National Association of Police Organizations gathering at the White House.
Marshall, who called the 26th Precinct Twitter likes “inappropriate and intolerable,” noted that the president once urged police departments to rough up people more during arrests.
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. Don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?” Trump said in 2018.
In 2014, the department under then-NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, created individual Twitter accounts for each of its 77 precincts and for some of its specialized units.
Some recently drew heat for controversial tweets.
Last month, two accounts blamed elected officials and the city’s violence interrupters for failing to stop the increase in shootings throughout the city.
“Disgraceful the amount of people shot in Manhattan North in the past 24 hours! Where are the elected officials and violence interupter (sic)!! The community is suffering!!” tweeted NYPD Patrol Borough Manhattan North on July 5.
An hour later, another supervisory command ripped Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.
“No show at any shooting scene!!! Our community is being attacked, there have been 24 people shot in the city in the past 24 hours…. Where Are You!!!” added the tweet from NYPD Manhattan South.
The attack on Vance was amplified by NYPD Assistant Chief Kathleen O’Reilly, who shared the tweet and added, “Complete No Show in Manhattan North!! Shame!!”
Vance’s spokesperson defended his actions, noting the DA rarely, if ever, goes to crime scenes. Instead, assistant district attorneys are dispatched to compile information.