Parents in East Harlem called an emergency meeting with NYPD officials Thursday after a series of daytime shootings in the neighborhood. And when parents asked why there wasn't a better police presence to keep their kids safe, Deputy Inspector William Pla said, according to The New York Post, that more cops weren't possible "due to a lack of manpower because of police being diverted downtown to Occupy Wall Street."
It's a curious response considering Occupy Wall Street was evicted almost three weeks ago, on November 15th. A parent at the meeting told The Post, "I was really annoyed that police would tell me that they are busy patrolling a peaceful protest instead of a gunshot-ridden area. That to me is shocking."
This isn't the first time, however, that NYPD brass have placed the blame on Occupy Wall Street. When, in mid-October, the number of shootings in the city jumped 154 percent when compared to the same week last year, at least four high-ranking NYPD blamed the demonstrators in Zucotti Park for the uptick in violent crime, saying the anti-corporate rallies pulled units away from rough neighborhoods like South Bronx, Jamaica and Brownsville. "The city is going crazy with demonstrations and protests, and I'm lucky if I can get four cars out there," Deputy Inspector Ted Berntsen, commander of the 13th precinct in Chelsea, said at the time.
After the midnight raid that evicted protesters, it's estimated that the NYPD had spent $7 million in overtime pay for cops to deal Occupy Wall Street.