The NYPD has allegedly come up with an ingenious way to sabotage the Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan: Just send drunks and homeless people down there!
The increased presence of homeless drug addicts and drunks has been causing tension in Zuccotti Park. Apparently the amount of "freeloaders" caused the Occupy Wall Street kitchen to scale back operations for a few days in protest. The Daily News today reports that the place has basically become divided between "real" occupy wall street protesters on the east, and the homeless riffraff on the West: There is now a "wrong side of the tracks" at Zuccotti Park.
According to Daily News op-ed contributor Harry Siegel, this shift has been helped along by friendly NYPD officers:
The NYPD seems to have crossed a line in recent days, as the park has taken on a darker tone with unsteady and unstable types suddenly seeming to emerge from the woodwork. Two different drunks I spoke with last week told me they'd been encouraged to "take it to Zuccotti" by officers who'd found them drinking in other parks, and members of the community affairs working group related several similar stories they'd heard while talking with intoxicated or aggressive new arrivals.
An NYPD spokesperson told Salon that the report is false. Regardless, the homeless population has put Occupy Wall Street in the awkward position of calling on the cops for help dealing with troublemakers in their rule-breaking encampment: Fuck the police! Unless we need the police!
It really is a brilliant, if supremely scummy, move by NYPD if true. Much has been made of the protest's embodied nature: They say the micro-community in Zuccotti Park is supposed to represent some ideal version of society where everyone has a say, and the pizza is free. How can they turn away the least-savory of the 99% without basically becoming The Man they've spent the last few weeks protesting? The homelessness issue could be Occupy Wall Street's Animal Farm moment.