After more than a week of national protests, riots, and memorials following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police brutality, a record number of scanner apps were downloaded by citizens to spy on police. While the scanner hacking took place, the New York City Police Department gained attention on Twitter for multiple alleged racial comments over the airways.
The Twitter handle, NYC Police Radio tweeted that unidentified officers commented inappropriately on the unfolding situation regarding riots and race. NYPD officers were overheard saying, “…Let the blacks police themselves” and “…Let them kill each other.” In other recordings published by TMZ and grass roots scanner hackers, the officers were allegedly mocking taking a knee and threatening to “run over” protesters. The twitter accounts associated with police scanner hacking, list the transcript and the actual recordings. The authenticity of all of the recordings has not been verified, but the NYPD did carry out disciplinary action on multiple officers during the protests for misconduct.
While NYPD controversy grew, so did scanner app downloads. According to a Yahoo News! report, via Apptopia, numerous police scanners were downloaded as a result of the weekend’s protests and riots in record numbers. The weekend saw 213,000 downloads, a 125 percent increase from the previous weekend. This increase was a record-breaking one, drawing the largest numbers of users. Some apps included 5-0 Radio Police Scanner and other generic names including the words “police scanner” and “fire scanner” in the titles. The spike happened across the country while local municipalities created community curfews to discourage crime.
Late night looting and violence inspired New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with support from Gov Andrew Cuomo to create a city-wide curfew. Originally set for 11 pm, the curfew was changed to an earlier 8 pm start time, after the later curfew saw no change in violent behavior and looting. Mayor de Blasio rejected national guard offers from President Trump to restore order to New York City. The Mayor opted to work with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to create a new policing plan instead. The curfew ended once looting calmed on Sunday, June 7. Protests to end police brutality and racial injustice continue daily as this report was published.
Read the tweets and listen to the audio from the NYPD police scanner below.