Occupy Wall Street Cost NYPD $17 Million in Overtime

By Jill Colvin on March 15, 2012 2:36pm 

Police officers clash with protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011 in New York City. The day was marked by sporadic violence, arrests, and injuries sustained by both protesters and police. Protesters attempted to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, blocking roads and tying up traffic in Lower Manhattan.
Police officers clash with protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011 in New York City. The day was marked by sporadic violence, arrests, and injuries sustained by both protesters and police. Protesters attempted to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, blocking roads and tying up traffic in Lower Manhattan.
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Andrew Burton/Getty Images

CITY HALL —The city has spent a whopping $17 million in overtime policing Occupy Wall Street, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday.

Testifying in front of the City Council during its annual budget hearing, Kelly said the department expects to spend a total of $585 million in police overtime this fiscal year — $17 million of which he attributed to policing the protests and encampment at Zuccotti Park.

The tally is significantly higher than it was at the end of November, when the NYPD had reportedly spent $8 million on protest-related overtime. The department spent $2 million on overtime during the movement’s first three weeks alone.

Police have maintained a near-constant presence around the park since the protests began Sept. 17, even after the encampment at Zuccotti Park was dismantled by police and sanitation crews. The movement has sparked dozens of mass protests across the city, which have lead to hundreds of arrests.

An NYPD spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about why overtime costs continued to increase when protest-related events appeared to cool as winter set in.

Kelly said that the department has been trying to reduce the money it spends on overtime for planned events like parades, but it has more trouble predicting protest costs.

"What causes issues for us is the unplanned events," Kelly said. "The unplanned events are always the wild card."

The mayor’s preliminary budget plan released last month sets aside $6 million to cover expenses related to the protests, Kelly said.

Kelly was also asked how much the department had spent "infiltrating" the movement, following complaints from some protesters about the level to which they’d been monitored by police.

"I don't have that number," Kelly said, adding that most of the intelligence the NYPD gathered about Occupy Wall Street came from the Internet.

Still, he suggested that police used other unspecified means to track protest plans.

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