How Cops Feel About Occupy

Their grievances are work-related, not political
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2011 1:50 PM CST
Police form a line between protestors and Frank H. Ogawa Plaza during the eviction of the Occupy Oakland camp on November 14, 2011, in Oakland, Calif.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – “Who are you protecting?” It’s a question Occupy protesters have become fond of shouting at the cops policing them, and it’s a fair one, writes former cop and assistant police science professor Peter Moskos in Slate. The answer: “Police are supposed to protect everything and everybody—shop windows, people who need to get to work, even the protesters. It’s an impossible task.” With so many conflicting demands, police wound up “stuck in the middle, and screwed from both sides.”

Do some sympathize with the Occupy crowd? Yes, but “police work is not about sympathy, but getting the job done, pleasing the boss, and going home in one piece.” Cops are ultimately following orders from elected officials, and if protesters follow a few simple rules—don’t hurt anyone, don’t shut down the city, don’t antagonize police, and offer no surprises—“police will gladly stand around and collect overtime while others chant and rally.” Remember, “Occupy is supposed to be about economic injustice, not the police.”

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