As Occupy Wall Street sticks around for a second month, the Voice is mapping out the way things work at Zuccotti Park. Meet the Occupiers is a series that profiles the who's who of Zuccotti: the key characters and working groups that keep the occupation going.
At Zuccotti Park last Saturday, a heated dispute broke out between one of the new security detail recruits and a protester. Tension rose as the former, a wiry man with gold teeth, and the latter, a more "alt" grad-school-chic guy, lobbed insults at each other.
Then Brendan Burke, an initial organizer of the security/conflict de-escalation working group, stepped in. Burke came on the scene with arms folded, back straight, blue eyes locked on target -- the classic authority pose. He asked what the issue was; it turned out the protester had accused the recruit of an unnamed crime. Burke stayed diplomatic, taking neither side, and mediated the argument. Nobody was exactly hugging five minutes later, but Burke had managed to thwart a potentially bigger conflict. He got himself a bowl of cookies from the food line.More »