It's no secret that some unsavory and possibly dangerous people have camped out in Zuccotti Park in recent days, but allegations have emerged that the influx of drunk and homeless Occupiers comes from the not-so-gentle hints of NYPD officer involvement.
At least one Daily News columnist has claimed that the NYPD is running a covert campaign of sabotage against the Occupy protest by encouraging a variety of vagrants to set up in Zuccotti park for the free organic cuisine and crash pads. The author, Harry Siegel, wrote accusingly:
"The NYPD seems to have crossed a line in recent days, as the park has taken on a darker tone with unsteady and unstable types suddenly seeming to emerge from the woodwork. Two different drunks I spoke with last week told me they'd been encouraged to "take it to Zuccotti" by officers who'd found them drinking in other parks, and members of the community affairs working group related several similar stories they'd heard while talking with intoxicated or aggressive new arrivals."
First of all, this begs the question: How can the Occupiers tell the difference between legitimate and illegitimate protestors? And even if they could tell who is most worthy among vagrants-- which is dubious-- shouldn't the "99%" include the least fortunate?
It's as though the Occupiers want to be in control of their property, and reward some protestors for their commitment and labor instead of just giving equally to all.
The NYPD, for its part, is denying any nefarious attempt to send the unwashed masses down to visit the slightly more-washed masses. Even though it would be brilliant counter-messaging to send the most problematic New Yorkers down to the protest, it doesn't seem necessary.
Everyone in the city knows about Occupy Wall Street, and word of free pizza and a sleeping bags travels fast even without Twitter and Facebook.
While the Occupiers claim the NYPD is cynically disrupting their protest with vagrants and the troubled, they seem to be missing a whole lot of irony in the process.