On the 1% Payroll | Who Do the White Shirt Police Report to at #OccupyWallStreet Protests?
Financial Giants Put New York City Cops On Their Payroll
Videos are springing up across the internet showing uniformed members of the New York Police Department in white shirts (as opposed to the typical NYPD blue uniforms) pepper spraying and brutalizing peaceful, nonthreatening protestors attempting to take part in the Occupy Wall Street marches. Corporate media are reporting that these white shirts are police supervisors as opposed to rank and file. Recently discovered documents suggest something else may be at work.
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.
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?
Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years. She spent the last decade of her career advocating against Wall Street’s private justice system, which keeps its crimes shielded from public courtrooms. She has been writing on public interest issues for CounterPunch since retiring in 2006. She has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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