- The Twitter account of a New York Police Department (NYPD) Harlem precinct liked QAnon conspiracy theory tweets, The City reported.
- Tweets liked by the 26th Precinct include the debunked, unsubstantiated, or conspiratorial claims that furniture company Wayfair is involved in child sex trafficking, that mail-in voting is rigged, and that a ship departing New York City “drove in the shape of a Q.”
- As of Tuesday morning, the account has unliked all of the Trump and conspiracy theory tweets. A spokesperson for the NYPD told Insider that “the incident was looked into and addressed internally.”
- The QAnon conspiracy theory movement has continued to gain traction in recent months, as public figures (including politicians) have voiced support for its unfounded or debunked ideas, which have included false child trafficking allegations.
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A New York Police Department (NYPD) precinct in Harlem liked several tweets related to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, according to a new report.
The City reported on Monday evening that tweets liked by the 26th Precinct’s Twitter account included the unfounded allegation that furniture company Wayfair is involved in child sex trafficking. “DO NOT PURCHASE FROM THIS COMPANY THEURE [sic] SEX TRAFFICKING YOUNG GIRLS,” said one July 10 tweet liked by the account, which was screenshotted by The City. Another July 10 tweet included a picture with the message, “Trump said they are fighting an ancient sex trafficking ring.”
July 10 and 11 tweets from President Donald Trump were liked by the precinct’s account, too, The City reported, including the unfounded claim that mail-in ballots are rigged.
Also on July 11, the account liked a tweet making the unfounded claim that the media was “involved” in a “Global Cabal” of human trafficking, screenshots show.
The account also liked a tweet from months earlier, on March 28, tied more directly to the QAnon conspiracy theory, alleging that a map showing the U.S. Comfort ship departing New York City “drove in the shape of a Q after it took off.” The user who tweeted that has been suspended from the platform.
As of Tuesday morning, the account has unliked all of the Trump and conspiracy theory tweets. Detective Denise Moroney, a spokesperson for the NYPD, told Insider that the “incident was looked into and addressed internally.”
It was not immediately clear who at the NYPD is responsible for running the precinct’s account.
It’s not the first time New York police officers have been linked to the fringe right-wing QAnon movement. On July 17, Ed Mullins, the head of the NYPD Sergeants Union, appeared on Fox News with a QAnon mug behind him. Mullins had previously appeared on Fox News at least twice in interviews that featured the mug. In July, Mullins declined to tell Business Insider whether he supported the conspiracy theory. “Our country is falling apart, New York City is in crisis, and the only thing the news media is concerned about is a mug,” he told reporter Eliza Relman.
The QAnon conspiracy theory movement has become increasingly popular
The QAnon conspiracy theory has become an increasingly popular movement among conservatives, centered on the idea that a secret cabal of elites has control over every sector of American life and is fighting to take down President Donald Trump. Child sex trafficking paranoia is a main tenet of QAnon, which led to the Wayfair conspiracy theory.
But the Wayfair theory went viral in non-Q spaces on social-media — so much so that the National Human Trafficking Hotline asked concerned citizens to stop flooding their reporting lines with unfounded claims that Wayfair was selling human children on its website. The Wayfair instance is part of a growing trend of QAnon beliefs seeping into mainstream culture and media, as Fox News pundits, congressional candidates, and social-media personalities have expressed support for the movement.
QAnon believers have been charged with multiple crimes relating to the conspiracy, and at least one FBI field office has called the movement a domestic terrorism threat.
Twitter recently announced a sweeping ban on QAnon, reportedly removing 7,000 accounts associated with the belief system. TikTok and YouTube have both made efforts to curb the rapid spread of the conspiracy theory, and Facebook is said to be preparing action, The New York Times reported.
Regardless, QAnon has found some mainstream support, with multiple congressional candidates expressing support for the movement.