NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police are launching a public education campaign to keep Times Square's roving band of costumed characters in line after a series of high-profile incidents.
The department said Saturday it's partnering with the Times Square Alliance, a business and tourism group, to remind the people inside the costumes that they cannot charge for photographs.
They're also letting tourists know that taking a photograph with a character is free and tipping is optional.
The campaign comes two weeks after police say a man dressed as Spider-Man slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing a tourist for a bigger tip.
The department is handing out fliers with the reminder in red boxes superimposed on black-and-white photograph of Times Square's versions of Mickey Mouse and Elmo.
The fliers instruct people to talk to a police officer or call 911 if a character gets out of hand.
Police Commissioner William Bratton has referred to the characters' wild behavior as Times Square's "Elmo issues."
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