A report from Capital New York has traced edits made on the Wikipedia pages of three men killed by New York Police Department officers to computers operating on the department’s network at One Police Plaza. Entries about the death of Eric Garner and Amadou Diallo were edited, while a piece on Sean Bell was submitted for deletion. “He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable,” wrote a Wikipedia user operating from the NYPD’s network address.
Users editing Wikipedia entries about themselves to be less damming or more flattering is fairly common. There is an entire Twitter account devoted to cataloging edits about Congress made from Congress. But revisions swapping “most unqualified” for “youngest” in describing a politician are far less troubling than attempts to control the historical narrative around the violent deaths of unarmed civilians.