NEW YORK (AP) — During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press. [Editorial comment: It is much more. The AP survey only accounted for the 18 largest venues.]
The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.
Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year. [Editorial comment: A concert cost 1-1/2 million to police? Although ‘Occupy’ is a disaster, it’s not a natural disaster, that can’t be prevented like a storm. Apples to Apples A.P.]
But the price of the protests is rising by the day — along with taxpayer ire in some places.
“What is their real agenda?” asked Rodger Mawhinney as he watched police remove an encampment outside his apartment complex in downtown Oakland. “I’ve gone up and asked them,“What are you truly trying to accomplish? I’m still waiting for an answer.”
The Occupy movement has intentionally never clarified its policy objectives, relying instead on a broad message opposing corporate excess and income inequality. Aside from policing, cleaning and repairing property at dozens of 24-hour encampments, cities have had to monitor frequent rallies and protests. [Editorial comment: If the general public knew the real agenda, these events would all be shut down tomorrow.]
“We’re here fighting corporate greed and they’re worried about a lawn?” said Clark Davis of Occupy Los Angeles, where the city estimates that property damage to a park has been $200,000. [Editorial comment: Yes Clark, the park fairies come out every evening when you’re sleepy sleeping & maintain the park for free. Someone had to pay to construct & maintain that park for you dim wits to occupy it in the first place.]
In Oakland, where protesters temporarily forced the shutdown of a major port, the city has spent more than
$2.4 million responding to the protests. [Editorial comment: Oakland is already $58 million in the red. What’s 2-1/2 million more?]
Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association, said Occupy-related costs would soar past $3 million when it’s all said and done. The city, he said, had to pay more for mutual aid when police removed the encampment at City Hall for a second time on Nov. 14, nearly three weeks after its first early morning raid, leading to dozens of arrests.
“A lot of this could’ve been avoided if we stood our ground when we went in there in the first place,” Arotzarena said. “I know we would’ve saved the city a significant amount of money.” [Editorial comment: The police were ordered to pull back after the first raid by spineless politicians.]
In New York City, the police department has spent $7 million in overtime on the protests. But that’s small change given the department’s $4.5 billion budget, which allots money for emergency overtime. Last year, the NYPD spent about $550 million on overtime. [Editorial comment: Yes AP, they’ll never miss a paltry $7 million. They couldn’t use that money elsewhere.]
Pete Dutro, a protester in charge of finances in New York City, called the NYPD’s response “completely unnecessary.” [Editorial comment: Remember Pete, of $700.00 per night hotel fame.]
“It’s $7 million of taxpayers’ money that’s being spent to stifle our First Amendment rights,” he said. “You know, they’ve consistently overreacted.” [Editorial comment: How much more would the aftermath cost if the police didn’t involve themselves.]
Imagine if you will (sound like the Twilight Zone) if the police just said, screw it, we’re not getting involved. These cities would be torn apart. $13 million would look like small change.
The average gullible protestor has not a care or concern of who has to pay for the protection of them or others. They don’t seem to care about who pays to clean up after them. Maybe Mommy or Daddy will pay for it.
On the other hand, the organizers of these movements are well aware of the costs involved. That’s the whole point. Just another way of helping collapse the system. Cloward & Piven.