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Ear to the Ground

New York’s Finest Are Neither Amused Nor Inspired

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Posted on Oct 5, 2011
_PaulS_ (CC-BY)

New York City police officers advance toward protesters as their colleagues ready containment nets on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday.

In the battle protesters are waging against U.S. corporations in lower Manhattan, appeals to NYPD officers’ sense of class solidarity have so far failed to shake them from their traditional role.

A look at the numbers suggests at least a few must be tempted to join the protesters’ side. According to Albert O’Leary, a spokesman for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, a first-year officer makes $41,975 a year, and hits a maximum base pay of $76,488 after six years of service. Upon retirement, many can look forward to drawing a pension of $35,000 each year.

But most police officers take their duty to enforce the law seriously. “I don’t doubt that there are some officers out there that are conflicted or who feel a little sympathy for this cause,” said retired New York Police Department officer Harvey Katowitz, who served on the force for 27 years. “We know what working for a living and working for low wages means. But they [police officers] have a job to do and they have to do it.”

In the long history of American labor struggles, police have occasionally come to the aid of demonstrators. In February, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker threatened to shoo protesters away from the state’s Capitol, off-duty police officers showed up with sleeping bags and stayed the night. They soon returned to their duties though, and events like that have been the exception, not the rule. —ARK

The Huffington Post:

New York City’s police officers are now tasked with patrolling the Occupy Wall Street protests, but they are also precisely the sorts of figures who are the objects of the movement’s organizational engine as it seeks to broaden into a mass event. New York City cops are union members whose wages generally do not pay for the cost of living inside the city they patrol.

In conversation with police officers near Wall Street in recent days, few expressed solidarity with the protesters, even as many acknowledged they are, like much of the country, struggling to pay their bills. Most expressed resignation that they have a job to do, palatable or not.

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By Maani, October 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

“If they say they are ‘just doing their job’ why don’t they go into those buildings and arrest the treasonist bankers?”

Really.  Be serious, please.  The police cannot arrest without something to arrest FOR.  And unless they actually SEE a crime being committed (particularly “white collar” crime, which is rarely seen by police), they cannot arrest until they are TOLD to make an arrest.

I’m sure there are plenty of police officers who would LOVE to arrest the bastards in the buildings.  But that is NOT “their job” unless and until they are told to make an arrest.

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By OzarkMichael, October 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

average guy said: “where are the gulags now?”

Fortunately, the gulags(a Leftist creation which killed tens of millions and enslaved many many more) were shut down.

The gulags(look up Gulag Archipelago, the author will teach you where the term came from, it was you darling Leftists who invented it all) in Russia have been shut down. That makes me happy. Hope that makes you happy too, but you might be far enough to the Left that you are a little irked by what I have said.

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By Scott Rubel, October 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If they say they are “just doing their job” why don’t they go into those buildings and arrest the treasonist bankers? The people there are in the street expressing what they want and police are working for the people, aren’t they? Oh, yeah, the corporations are better people than people are because they have the bucks.

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By Maani, October 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

John R.:

Thank you - thank you! - for your intelligent, measured comments.

I want to reiterate that, ntil you have been in someone’s shoes, you should not judge them.  Even if you disagree with their career choice.  I work with (not for) the NYPD almost every day.  Yes, some of them come to the job for “incorrect” reasons and/or incorrect “attitudes.”  But there are many, many officers - indeed, the majority - who do not, and do their job well, and with (as cliche as it sounds) courtesy, professionalism and respect.  To simply lump them all together as some fascist force is not simply demonstrably incorrect, it is truly insulting to the majority who simply try to do a good job and get home safely to their families each day.


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By Amon Drool, October 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the
other half”...19th century plutocrat jay gould

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something,
when his salary depends upon not understanding
it”..sinclair lewis

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By average guy, October 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)



the pot calling the kettle black…

do you have any inkling how ridiculous your statements are?

where are the gulags now?

who tortures, invades, slaughters, starts wars of agression for empire, who uses false flags left and right, who stirs trouble in Syria, Libya, etc, to then find pretext to pass bogus resolutions which are nothing but covers for wars of agression?

I could go on.

whereas, it is today established that the USSR was tricked into going into Afghanistan (by the al-cia-da bogeyman), and then ameriKa got on its high horse and boycotted the Moscow olympics…  remember that?  All the world’s a stage right?

Who is and always was the forked tongue scamster in all of this?

If you defend America, why don’t you defend something worthwhile such as its Declaration of Independance and Constitution and the high ideals inherited from Montesquieu which the Founding Fathers built upon.

But, as your drivel indicates, your ilk doesn’t have the slightest notion of who Montesquieu was, much less of anything else.

You are a disgrace and an insult to these ideals, the embodiment of everything the Founding Fathers feared and abhored.

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By OzarkMichael, October 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

When you get down to it the tension between the Occupiers and the police is very simple to explain. The police are to uphold the law and treat everyone alike, but Leftists always want to be coinsidered a special case since they are ‘the best among us’!

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By OzarkMichael, October 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

average guy said: “In the end, being a virtuous system, Communism could not compete in the medium term with the pyramidal scheme of fiat money.”

Ah, so when the virtuous Communist system forms what it considers to be a virtuous police state with virtuous gulags, it all ends up corrupted by capitalist monetary policy?

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By gerard, October 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

John R.:  Even if it is “recorded that way” it will not be in vain.  No peaceful action for peace, no just action for justice is in vain.  Quite the opposite, such actions preserve peace and justice and renew the human spirit.

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By Robespierre115, October 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

The big, beaucratic labor unions which have become pawns of the Democrats (we need unions, but as Chris Hedges has reported here, the old guard stopped representing real workers’ interests long ago) are already getting involved, so it could become Wisconsin II. Current, postmodern protests really need to fully abandon the status quo or they will fizzle out in a haze of disillusionment.

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By Jim Shea, October 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the police will recognize where
the true public interest lies, and they will brutally enforce the wishes
of their masters, the oligarchs and their minions. However, we must
acknowledge that they may have to decide between their jobs and
pensions (however inadequate) and the real interests of the people.
Jim Shea

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By Marian Griffith, October 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a little remark hidden in this piece that is rather worrying, if it is true.
That police officers are not paid a wage that allows them to pay the bills in the city they live and work in.
This is a recipy for corruption…

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Morgan-Chase recently donated $4.6 million to the NYPD which will be used for 1,000 new patrol cars and computer equipment.  It was the largest private donation to the nypd in history.  They really are scared.

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By gerard, October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment



Stupid headlines, both!  Neither the cause being advocated, nor amusement and inspiration to be drawn from that cause, should be the motivating factors for good police behavior.

Police should and must identify with protesters (and everybody else) as fellow human beings, regardless of causes, advocacies or class and color differences.

They should protect these OW protesters because protecting protesters is the legitimate business of police, and is commanded by the Constitution.

No doubt secondarily some police identify as fathers of young sons and daughters; others as fellow-“liberals”—whatever that means. Others as New Yorkers, or Americans, or whatever.  But the basic identification ought to be fellow human beings
if they are going to support peace and justice humanely and adequately.

Because “money talks” it is wrong for private interests to “donate” to public service agencies. The implication of such “donations” is to buy preference. In other words, a kind of “lobbying” to benefit the donors.  “Protecting special interests” is not “protecting the public.”

If such things musts be pointed out to editors, where are we anyhow?

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By John R., October 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Sides will be taken.

When the time comes I will be sacrificing my body for this movement. Clubbed, sprayed, or shot, I have chosen, and if its all in vain then it will be recorded that way. I am motivated strictly by the human spirit and its abilities to overcome the material reality. 

When choosing, or, deciding not to take a side, you are also choosing.

The police are doing what they think is best for their families. There may be a moment when each officer must make that decision to pull the trigger, use the club, or not, on the protestor.

Many situations and emotions at that moment will be involved. Too many for us to fathom here, not knowing each officer’s individual life story.

I can only hope that each officer at some point will try to understand the root of our reasons for protesting. Sometimes that might give the officer a reason to hesitate, just long enough to weigh, whom or what they protect. 

Better not to judge what they may have to do. Leave that judgement to the afterlife (if

We are all human. I personally do not want any violence against the policemen or the protestors. It is the out of balance and wars of the world that have brought this movement into the light.

In any outcome I can only hope that the system will somehow become more beneficial
for those that are in trouble now, those that are just surviving each day, near
starvation in any country. The old phrase “think global act local” comes to my mind. I will do my tiny part, with the world in mind.

Peace to you.

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By SoTexGuy, October 5, 2011 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

It seems the Police are tasked with enforcing the little box .. the one created by overlapping and obscure codes and rules and permits leaves for public demonstration and protest.. No one is really questioning why any number of people, from 10 to 10,000 or more can’t walk across Brooklyn Bridge or simply
stand in front of Goldman Sachs.. Why can’t they?

Does Goldman own Brooklyn Bridge? The street and sidewalk in front of their offices? I’m sure it would be an inconvenience for some to have those demonstrations camped out in front of their office.. but so what? Live with it, move your office.. Maybe to India where your call centers are located. Whatever..

Not withstanding there being good and decent people on the police force in New York and elsewhere.. it seems it was/is all too easy for armed officers to ‘do their duty’ and harass, bully, assault and arrest average people.. people doing something ‘out of the ordinary’ or gauche.. It’s a sign of what will come when and if real protests begin.. any show of force by Americans in the street will be met with ‘shock and awe’ on our butts.. It was fun maybe watching it overseas on crowds of people of mostly different color and whose language was a mystery.. wait for it here.. Kent State wasn’t even a dress rehearsal..

Police and Guardsmen and more will have to make the same choices as say the tank drivers in Tianamen Square.. Increasingly it seems likely they will act to save their own positions of authority and security and privilege.

Here’s hoping the current fuss ends peacefully with real and positive change! .. but as yet there’s no sign Wall Street and the Government have any clue about what to do or say.. and they remain hostile to the idea of reforming our economy. I watched the talking Head Coulter accuse these demonstrators of being of the same ilk as the hated Nazis, Bolsheviks, the darned French who guillotined Marie Antoinette.. horrible revolutionaries! and unkempt too.

The one revolution she left out was our own revolution against the British crown for many of the same reasons these people are now in the streets of New York and beyond.


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By bpawk, October 5, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

To be a cop you have to be a bit of a fascist law and order kind of person - they’re no mavericks - therefore they won’t usually side with their own class but uphold the law - I’m waiting for the crowds to get so big that one of the cops shoots a kid by mistake - Kent State all over again.  That will get everyone’s (i.e. foreign countries) attention.

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By SarcastiCanuck, October 5, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Didn’t the guards in the nazi death camps say that they were just doing thier jobs….Wonder when the cops will realize that they are screwing themselves at the same time.

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By felicity, October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

average guy - right or wrong, in one sense Marx and
Lenin may have been right when (they) said that
capitalism, a capitalistic nation would destroy itself. 
Seems like the US is fast fulfilling their prophesy.

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By average guy, October 5, 2011 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If this is Capitalism…

I’ll take Communism any day,

at least then I’ll have a job
a roof over my head
and food to eat.
not to mention better health care
and education that a poor guy
could ever get in ameriKa.

The only reason Communism “failed” anyway
is not because of some intrinsic weakness but
because it was undermined from the beginning
by the very same vultures at work today
and was never truly allowed to flourish.

In the end, being a virtuous system,
Communism could not compete in the medium term
with the pyramidal scheme of fiat money.

But today the fraud of Capitalism is here
for all to see.

By definition Communism is more efficient
since it excludes the profit motive
which reveals itself in all its glory and wreckage today.

Banksters and other parasites get it all
while the masses get but the shaft.

Were there shortcomings with Communism?

certainly, but it is clearly superior for
the common good than this charade we presently have.

Call me a nut all you want…


Karl Marx was right.

How can you say it isn’t so if you never read it?

Actually, this is what the parasitic bankster class
is most afraid of…  ideas… these ideas.

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