I wrote last week about the multi-million dollar contribution to the NYPD from JPChase, but it turns out the corporate influence goes much deeper than that. Pam Martens, an activist who successfully sued the NYPD after her arrest for handing out leaflets about corruption at Citibank, tells us a lot of things we didn’t know about the relationship between the NYPD and Wall Street, and it’s jawdropping information:
If you’re a Wall Street behemoth, there are endless opportunities to privatize profits and socialize losses beyond collecting trillions of dollars in bailouts from taxpayers. One of the ingenious methods that has remained below the public’s radar was started by the Rudy Giuliani administration in New York City in 1998. It’s called the Paid Detail Unit and it allows the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street corporations, including those repeatedly charged with crimes, to order up a flank of New York’s finest with the ease of dialing the deli for a pastrami on rye.
The corporations pay an average of $37 an hour (no medical, no pension benefit, no overtime pay) for a member of the NYPD, with gun, handcuffs and the ability to arrest. The officer is indemnified by the taxpayer, not the corporation.
New York City gets a 10 percent administrative fee on top of the $37 per hour paid to the police. The City’s 2011 budget called for $1,184,000 in Paid Detail fees, meaning private corporations were paying wages of $11.8 million to police participating in the Paid Detail Unit. The program has more than doubled in revenue to the city since 2002.
The taxpayer has paid for the training of the rent-a-cop, his uniform and gun, and will pick up the legal tab for lawsuits stemming from the police personnel following illegal instructions from its corporate master. Lawsuits have already sprung up from the program.
Apparently the city doesn’t bother to insure the NYPD for liability, saying it’s cheaper to shell out for settlements. (Here’s a guy who was strong-armed by those private detail cops for daring to attempt to use the bathroom during a 9/11 tribute at a Yankees game. Wonder how much that cost the city? In the past decade, the NYPD has paid almost a billion dollars in legal settlements.)
When the program was first rolled out, one insightful member of the NYPD posted the following on a forum: “… regarding the officer working for, and being paid by, some of the richest people and organizations in the City, if not the world, enforcing the mandates of the private employer, and in effect, allowing the officer to become the Praetorian Guard of the elite of the City. And now corruption is no longer a problem. Who are they kidding?”
[…] When the infamously mismanaged Wall Street firm, Lehman Brothers, collapsed on September 15, 2008, its bankruptcy filings in 2009 showed it owed money to 21 members of the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit. (A phone call and email request to the NYPD for information on which Wall Street firms participate in the program were not responded to. The police unions appear to have only scant information about the program.)
Other Wall Street firms that are known to have used the Paid Detail include Goldman Sachs, the World Financial Center complex which houses financial firms, and the New York Stock Exchange.
[…] On September 8, 2004, Robert Britz, then President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of the New York Stock Exchange, testified as follows to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services:
“…we have implemented new hiring standards requiring former law enforcement or military backgrounds for the security staff…We have established a 24-hour NYPD Paid Detail monitoring the perimeter of the data centers…We have implemented traffic control and vehicle screening at the checkpoints. We have installed fixed protective planters and movable vehicle barriers.”
Military backgrounds; paid NYPD 24-7; checkpoints; vehicle barriers? It might be insightful to recall that the New York Stock Exchange originally traded stocks with a handshake under a Buttonwood tree in the open air on Wall Street.
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UPDATE: Boston PD beat and arrested the Vets for Peace who tried to protect the protesters. Mass arrests made, tents and sleeping bags thrown into waiting garbage trucks.
Police are gathering in mass to remove Occupy Boston campers from the North Camp expansion and possibly from the Main Camp tonight at midnight, by force if necessary. We are calling for all able-bodied volunteers to come lock arms with us in solidarity and defend this Occupation from any police presence that may arrive.
IF YOU LIVE IN BOSTON: The mayor’s line needs to hear from you – be ready with the street name of “your” Boston address: 617.635.4500 … When you get the recording hold or press “0”.
Via Twitter, @OccupyBoston reports that protestors have locked arms to protect the camp. Close to midnight, they tweeted:
We overheard the police are telling reporters to leave the inside of the camp – that it’s not safe. We have reports that the riot police are continuing to assemble and have batons. Swat team putting on riot gear on High St. Join us now!
Cops in riot gear with lots of plastic cuffs ready to use staging on High St.
@ProtestChaplain has an ominous report:
city EMTs have set up a tent for dealing with the aftermath.
Veterans for Peace are saying they will place themselves between the police and the protesters.
The Boston Police department delivered a statement to be read in the main camp, saying they intend to clear the camp on unlawful assembly grounds.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, #OccupyAtlanta protesters at Woodruff Park refusing to leave after being told to go by Atlanta police. Earlier today, Occupy Atlanta released this statement:
Participants in Occupy Atlanta met with Chief Turner and his staff today and were warned that the police intended to enforce the city ordinances against camping and against being in the park after 11 pm.
Here in the “city too busy to hate,” the city where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, attended college, and preached, we come to speak our own dreams.
We believe that the American political process is so corrupted by the influx of lobbyists, “free speech” corporate cash, and politicians beholden to both that it has failed us completely.
Our only option left is to occupy public spaces in order to assert our right to freely assemble and to redress our grievances, rights guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. Exerting that right has ironically become an act of civil disobedience, a fact which points out exactly what the problem really is. We owe no obedience to laws which abridge our Constitutional rights.
We need as many people to come down to Woodruff Park ASAP!
To hell with that Constitution thingie. Everyone knows it’s only for gun-toting right wingers.
You know, George, I’m disappointed that you’re disappointed. Because that means you haven’t noticed the dire straits we’re in.
Obama says he’s working with a job creation committee. What he’s really doing is telling job seekers they’ll have to play ball with his corporatist pals and routinely accept jobs that pay less and involve fewer benefits than their parents enjoyed. More here.