Occupy Wall Street: Actually Sort of Good for the Cops?
Along with Mayor Bloomberg's recent sentiments that "protests that are trying to destroy the jobs of working people in this city aren't productive" comes a slightly different, still employment-based, perspective, which is the NYPD's recent announcement that Occupy Wall Street has cost taxpayers $2 million in police overtime. While the NYPD (and the Daily News) seem to be billing this as a waste of taxpayer money, sure to get many of those taxpayers riled up against the movement, this stat also means that cops are making a healthy bit of overtime pay with Occupy Wall Street.
This is especially interesting in light of Occupy Wall Street's sometimes supportive (we're with you, etc.) /sometimes antagonistic (fuck the cops!) relationship -- depending on which protester you talk to, and which police officers, and when and where -- with the NYPD. If the protest is putting money in the hands of NYPD officers, keeping them well-employed, has the protest won, or lost?
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly basically defended the use of pepper spray and batons by NYPD to "control rowdy crowds," pointing to a group that "tried to storm police barricades" at Wall Street and Broadway after the march on Wednesday. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne added that cops have a right to use force and defend themselves when they're being charged.
"They locked their arms. They counted down - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6. Then they decided to charge the police. That is going to be met with some physical force," Kelly said.
Meanwhile, videos like the white-shirted cop going to town on protesters with his baton (above) and the other NYPD officer who said "My little nightstick's gonna get a workout tonight," continue to circulate. Overtime pay and getting to beat up hippies? It's like Christmas. Except not.
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