I’m glad someone else caught CNN’s new celeb “anchor du jour” Erin Burnett offering a “condescending and reductionist” analysis yesterday while covering the Occupy Wall Street movement. Of course, it isn’t the first time this ex-Goldman Sachs/Citigroup employee used her TV perch to serve as a mouthpiece and apologist for Wall St. abuses, but at least people are noticing.
Speaking of Occupy Wall Street, which is marching today along with at least 15 major unions not too far from ThePopTort’s offices in Lower Manhattan, a group of them have now filed suit against New York City and the NYPD for tactics used in arresting 700 peaceful protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend.
A lot of people have been taking note of how the NYPD has been handling this protest, which is mostly taking place in an area that has been a virtual police state since 9/11 - just between the World Trade Center and the New York Stock Exchange. We know. We used to work a couple blocks away. (Just forget trying to cross a street without navigating block-long barricade.) While the NYPD has been getting lots of media attention for their anti-terrorism work, they’re also getting tons of attention for their abuses. And it’s not just the Occupy Wall Street protestors or the city’s Muslim community that has grounds to complain.
As we wrote in June,
[New York City] paid out $135 million to settle claims made against the NYPD last year - a soaring 71% jump in settlements against the department from a decade ago.
The surge - part of a half-billion dollars paid out by the city - included $56.4 million for alleged police misconduct, including excessive force and false arrest, an analysis by City Comptroller John Liu found.
Advocates said the number marks a disturbing trend: in 2003, Mayor Bloomberg’s first fiscal year in office, the city paid out $68 million in NYPD tort claims.
“This number and the increase over past decade cry out for close monitoring of the police,” said Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
“The NYPD’s hyper-aggressive tactics create a situation that is ripe for litigation,” she said.
And as we also noted, the solutions to this “pay out” problem lie not with taking away people’s rights but with reducing the misconduct that leads to claims in the first place. Lets hope it doesn’t escalate now.