‘Occupy Wall Street’: Police paying protest’s price

Police officers escort Wall Street protesters during their daily 4 p.m. march in Lower Manhattan.

Every day the NYPD redirects dozens of officers to keep an eye on the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters — but at what cost to the city?

Taxpayers might be shelling out as much as $50,000 extra every weekend to pay cops overtime for the protest. That’s nearly $150,000 for the three weekends protesters have been camped out, including this one.

“For something like this, you would be calling in officers on overtime,” Roy Richter, president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, told Metro. “You’re talking about a lot of money being spent.”

On weekdays, the NYPD can pull cops off other beats to guard Zuccotti Park. But on the weekends, and for large marches, overtime cops must be called in, said Richter.

Of an estimated 100 cops patrolling Zuccotti Park on weekends, it is reasonable to assume that at least half of them are getting paid overtime, Richter said. Overtime pay is $60 per hour, compared to the normal police pay of $40 per hour.

Even on weekdays, many of the about 30 cops who patrol the park have been pulled in from other precincts, such as Flushing, Midtown or University Heights in the Bronx.

“These are officers that are sorely needed in other places,” said Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “Often they pull officers away from precincts, which are sorely understaffed. It’s a very expensive proposition.”

Giving it back

On Friday, the protesters will march to One Police Plaza to protest what they said was police brutality, after an officer pepper-sprayed four women who were penned in at last weekend’s protest.
   
Internet hacking group Anonymous made public the name of Anthony Bologna, who allegedly used the pepper spray, and also leaked the address and names of his children. Bologna has reportedly gotten death threats.

Visit from a former governor

Former New York Gov. David Paterson stopped by the protest on Thursday, telling reporters, “I wanted to come and see it for myself, which is what I think people should do.” He spoke to protesters in the camp, steps away from waterlogged-mattresses and tarps covering food.  metro/ab

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.
 

    



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