Policing Protests: White-Collar Work

October 5, 2011 | Brooklyn College, Newsmakers

The Occupy Wall Street protests, which began on September 17, have shown some distinctive policing strategies, according to Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College associate professor in sociology who specializes in police response to demonstrations. One thing “has been the use of supervisors — so-called white shirts, lieutenants and up — to do a lot of the arrests and be kind of a front line of interaction, rather than having patrol officers do it,” said Vitale, in an interview at the center of the protests in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district. “I think, in part, it’s an attempt to avoid the overuse of force and escalation of conflicts but, unfortunately, some of those supervisors have made mistakes and have escalated the conflict.”
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