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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