Yesterday, the New York Police Department did a very dumb thing. Using the hashtag #myNYPD, the department asked New Yorkers to share their photos of New York’s finest on Twitter. What happened next was utterly predictable.

Activists seized upon the moment to show the NYPD for the violent, megalomaniacal, often racist organization it is, tweeting scenes of Occupy Wall Street brutality, racially motivated arrests, and screenshots from Onion parody videos. The failed hashtag was, as the Daily News cover screamed this morning, a “brutal fiasco.”

Now, NYPD’s hashtag disaster — like a single drop of piss in a vast, untainted reservoir — is ruining Twitter for police departments across the country. The Los Angeles Police Department has seen the worst of the aftershock — a search for #myLAPD brings up countless images and stories of police violence — but residents of cities as far-flung as Boston, Oakland, Chicago, DenverSeattle, and Tucson have taken up their own versions of the hashtag.

UPDATE: Nerdcore points out that the meme has spread to Europe (and probably elsewhere as well).

The NYPD responded to the hijacking in a statement this morning: “The N.Y.P.D. is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”

Couldn’t agree more! Carry on.

(Photo: AP)