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PICKET: Occupy protesters relegated to a 'stop snitching' policy on crime within encampments

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Crime in Occupy Wall Street’s encampment Zucotti Park might be worse than the public realizes. According to The New York Postcrime at the park, which included a homeless man allegedly pulling a knife during an argument as well as claims of sexual assaults, is so out of control many protesters have resorted to a “stop snitching” rule. In fact, reports The Post, one NYPD officer said, that much of the crime goes unreported as a result. “What’s happening in there is staying in there,” said the New York City cop. 

Similarly, Occupy Baltimore protesters reportedly passed out pamphlets telling demonstrators not to report sexual assaults to police. After receiving much criticism, Occupy Baltimore later revised their policy but, according to the Baltimore Sun, the policy still does not encourage involving law enforcement after a sexual assault happens within the Baltimore occupy encampment.  

Occupy Wall Street’s security team has been at odds with organizers for quiet some time. The night before New York City occupiers marched on Times Square, OWS security volunteers complained to OWS organizers that only a handful of OWS security individuals were keeping watch of the entire park and working 30 hours straight with no relief.

The security team said that Occupy Wall Street had a 1 percent crime rate and too many OWS protesters were just “sitting there doing [their] thing” and “not doing [their part]” to help with security.

OWS security seems to be fighting an uphill battle, as the General Assembly within OWS apparently thinks a priority for the security group at OWS is to be renamed and not rough up disruptors within Zucotti Park. 

“Because this is such an inclusive society, that we’re creating here… that we’ve evolved into, or that we were from the beginning, it draws everyone. It draws everyone, except maybe the super-rich. So when it draws everyone, you’re dealing with everyone’s conditioning…everyone’s f****d up conditioning,” OWS facilitator John Friesen told me last week.

“Everyone’s like, ‘I’m out for me and myself.’ You know that kind of instinct and people are unruly and people are violent and people make threats. So that debate has been going on between people on the security team, which people want to be renamed the ‘de-escalation team.’There is ‘peace keepers’. There is ‘mediators,’” Friesen said. 

Friesen added, “They’re all just kind of trying to sort this out on how to work together in a more holistic approach versus security just checking someone. You know, like tackling them. So that’s definitely been a concern for us. How do we deal with disruptive people that for whatever reason they are doing that. It’s not a solved issue. Not by any means.”



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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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