UPDATE: Twitter Continues Suspension of Watchdog Placard Abuse Account

An image similar to this apparently got @placardabuse suspended by Twitter.
An image similar to this apparently got @placardabuse suspended by Twitter.

No one is watching the detectives.

Twitter has suspended the watchdog account @placardabuse — which has been instrumental in documenting hundreds of instances of illegal and dangerous parking by real and fake placard holders — after an apparent complaint by one of the members of the so-called placard class.

It all started on Sunday when the keepers of the whistleblowing account discovered that they could not post their latest instance of parking corruption. Further investigation revealed that Twitter had suspended the account and removed one post in a thread dating back to September, 2018, about illegal parking on W. 55th Street — a well-known car-storage strip where cop-adjacent drivers avoid tickets by leaving officers’ business cards, PBA cards, or even traffic ticket books on their dashboards.

This is the tweet and the photo that has been removed, though a similar photo remains live on the site.
This is the tweet and the photo that has been removed, though a similar photo remains live on the site.

The watchdogs at @placardabuse argue that the tweet simply does not violate Twitter’s “rules and policies.”

“A publicly displayed NYPD business card used for illicit purposes shouldn’t result in us getting suspended,” the group said.

It seems that Twitter agrees. Late on Sunday, the website told Streetsblog that @placardabuse had been “reinstated,” but as of Monday morning, the account says it is still not able to post. [Streetsblog will be monitoring the situation.]

A reinstatement makes sense, given that one of the tweets in the supposedly offending thread had remained live on Twitter, even though it featured basically the same photo of the tweet that apparently got the account suspended: a tableau of placard abuse that included what appears to be a courtesy badge from the Detectives’ Endowment Association, a union; a business card for “field intelligence officer” Det. Kai Estwick, and “courtesy” cards from the Detectives’ Endowment Association and its rank-and-file counterpart, the Police Benevolent Association.

“If @NYPDMTN were monitoring the situation on W. 55th Street and issuing summonses when applicable, Kal Estwick’s buddy would not have been parked in the No Standing zone again yeterday [sic],” that tweet reads.

Given that only Estwick is identified in the lone tweet that was deleted by Twitter, the moderators of @placardabuse were convinced that he issued the complaint as a violation of Twitter rules, which state that users “may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”

But it’s hard to imagine Twitter considers a business card “private information” if it is left on the dashboard of a car parked illegally. Indeed, Twitter rules also state that images like those in the offending tweet can be posted on Twitter “if the information was shared somewhere else before it was shared on Twitter.”

“We may not treat this information as private, as the owner has made it publicly available,” Twitter said on its rules page. (The company added little except to falsely say @placardabuse had been reinstated. The NYPD had no comment. Estwick did not return an email seeking comment.)

The keepers of the three-and-a-half-year-old placard abuse account — who remain anonymous because they have been threatened previously by the NYPD — called the complaint “bogus” and “an effort to suppress documentation of wrongdoing.”

“We wonder if they had to produce some kind of NYPD document to Twitter to convince them that the information that we posted, which was publicly displayed, was somehow too sensitive to be posted online,” the account keepers said in a statement to Streetsblog. “We have asked the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Conflicts of Interest Board to investigate if anybody misused their position in an effort to suppress Constitutionally protected speech in an effort to avoid accountability.”

The temporary suspension means that @placardabuse cannot document illegal and dangerous parking by NYPD, FDNY, court officers, Department of Investigation officers and so many others who leave their cars wherever they want, all thanks to a thin piece of plastic — so many of which are fabrications.

“A lengthy suspension on Twitter would temporarily relieve the placard class from scrutiny and may result in violations by some placard perps not being documented,” @placardabuse said just before the account was reinstated. “But this attempt to suppress information about wrongdoing will not discourage our efforts to end to placard corruption.”

  • crazytrainmatt

    I guess that’s the same W 55th street where the PBL is going in…

  • Larry Littlefield

    There seems to be a lot of this going around.

  • William Lawson

    Do these moron cops actually think they can stop people Tweeting this stuff out. Like it’s 20 years ago and there’s no social media and nobody has a smartphone so they can just tool around doing what they want and breaking laws in full view. That’s the bubble they’re stuck in. Idiots. I can’t even process how clueless the NYPD is, what a horrible department to inflict upon a city. We deserve better.

  • This is actually a very positive development. The only real consequences here are more publicity for @placardabuse, and the incitation of more citizens to report on placard abuse. Nice going, bros. I mean that.

  • Yes, they are that stupid.

  • Vooch

    All Animals Are Equal

    Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

  • AMH

    Sure hope so!

  • Gina Maine

    The issue is the person whom probably attained the card in normal business utilize it in such a way. that car should be fined, towed. the abuse is on the registered owner of said vehicle. on ebay there is plenty of pba cards for purchase. its apparent that business cards and placards are two separate things. Should a lawyer, Mechanic shop, reporter or a blogger be held liable because someone misused a business card? Are we running out of content to post about we resort to this by the way there was a car illegally parked with a lyftuber sign in it lets blame uberlyft

  • So basically by turning a blind eye to their own in-house placard abuse, they are effectively sanctioning rogue/counterfeit placard abuse by regular (i.e. non NYPD affiliated or related) citizens. Ha ha. I’m going to check out ebay right now.

  • Vooch

    Gina,

    really ?

    you really defending this lawless corruption ?

  • Gina Maine

    Not at all , its definitely abuse. please don’t misinterpret my stance. however the business cards is a stretch.

  • William Lawson

    It’s not a stretch at all. Anything NYPD related on the dashboard or windshield or license plate of a private car, including placards, stickers, badges, “relative of officer” badges, business cards, PBA paraphernalia, blue line stickers etc – the ONLY intended purpose of this kind of bling is an attempt to dissuade other officers from enforcing the law against them. There is no other reason for having this shit on view in your car. They want to speed, blow reds and park illegally with impunity. It should be illegal to display any cop related BS on a private car, for that very reason.

  • Gina Maine

    AGREED! i just go to a community meeting obtain am official card then put it on my dashboard! go on Ebay and buy all kinds of police cards, shields for $10 . I should be arrested. point blank period. that domesticschoolcommunity officer should get slandered on this platform, i disagree. Anyone city official or civilian should be prosecuted for misconduct or breaking the law. by all means if have proof a city official is doing this , then absolutely lets get em. A Domestic violence officer hands out her card , now that individual abuse it . that DV officer should be ran through the mud? cmon lets be real.

  • William Lawson

    Cops are the worst offenders. There is no reason whatsoever for any NYPD officer to have NYPD bling on the dashboard or windscreen of their private car, period. Like I said, they do it for one reason and one reason only – to get away with driving and parking illegally. I don’t care who they are, expose ’em all.

  • OnePersonOrAnother

    I would think the officer in question would want to know that the card they gave out was being used improperly.

  • placard corruption

    Let’s consider the whole fact pattern here, shall we?

    Members of the NYPD had illegally created a free parking zone on this block for their friends and family. The local NYPD command and HQ had complaints about this illegal practice, and yet were allowing it to continue while issuing statements that they were taking enforcement action. The ticketing history for the block showed that they did sometimes issue tickets, but whenever we checked the cars displaying cards, they were not ticketed.

    The *only* reasonable conclusion is that the vehicle with Estwick’s card was not being ticketed for its routine parking violations because the officers charged with enforcement believed the driver was, in fact, Estwick’s buddy. It is even likely that fact had been verified once they knew they were under public scrutiny and under pressure to write more tickets on the block.

    So… the officers taking on a risk by covering up for this driver were operating with the belief that it was Estwick’s buddy, but we shouldn’t think so? Ok…

    And if Estwick really had nothing to do with it, wouldn’t you expect him to speak out to Streetsblog about the perp who misused his card to make it look like he was endorsing this corruption?

    Sorry, but the facts here are clear:
    This corruption worked BECAUSE the driver claimed to be Estwick’s buddy, a claim that the enforcing officers believed, and a claim that Estwick did not refute.

  • 8FH

    Still no posts on the account.

  • David-Paul Gerber

    Kai Estwick (the detective at the center of Placard Abuse’s Twitter suspension) was involved in a Federal civil suit against the city via.an sworn affidavit he had to provide on a case. Subscription required: https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/27940903/Campbell_v_CITY_OF_NEW_YORK_et_al

  • Gina Maine

    Excuse me, officer eastwick was just the example, I was
    speaking in general with the business cards. It didn’t appear it was a nexus
    between operator and the officer. I stand corrected if you guys confirmed such. My deep apologies (Journalism integrity). What I do know civil servants are not allowed to speak to any media outlets without express permission from their perspective agency. I really interested to know the officer position. Are all the business cards incidents been vetted? I just hate to see bully on this level

  • placard corruption

    Nobody is bullying the police by pointing out their organized corruption.

    This is a location where they constantly refused to enforce the law on people they had supplied with “courtesy” junk of some form.

    Can we positively confirm that every instance of an officer’s card was explicitly handed out for that purpose? No, but there is no doubt that it was working for the driver in this location because of the organized corruption, which all the officers here were aware of. Even if they did no explicitly promote it, they implicitly endorsed it by allowing it to continue.

    At the very best, they’re still part of the corruption by failing to shoulder their duty to address it.

    Holding them accountable for their paid job is hardly bullying them.

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