NYPD: Tipping Times Square characters is optional

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NEW YORK (AP) — Police say they're 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 says Saturday it's partnering with a Times Square tourism group to remind the people inside the costumes that they cannot charge for photographs.

They're also letting tourists know that photographs with the characters are free and tipping is optional.

The department is handing out fliers with the reminder superimposed on a picture of Times Square's versions of Mickey Mouse and Elmo.

They tell people to call 911 if a character gets out of hand.

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.