The Albany Times Union calculated that the New York State Police were forced to spend nearly $100,000 on overtime pay for troopers, to essentially run a baby sitting service for Occupy Albany protesters. The report came about through a FOIA request and an estimation of the average cost of an hour of overtime in the department.
Superintendent Joseph D’Amico explains that he was unwilling to compromise the safety of other areas by pulling officers over to the state-controlled Lafayette Park, where protesters were intentionally seeking arrest by remaining past curfew.
Amusingly, one of the movement’s more prominent protesters, Bradley Russell, a local professor at the college of St. Rose and the State University of New York, feigned disbelief and predictably placed the blame on the police:
“Holy cow,” said Bradley Russell, 40, an anthropology professor who led protesters to tempt arrest in Lafayette Park. “As the vast majority of any arrests that came from any of our actions inside or outside the Capitol were dismissed, the entire police effort amounted to the governor trying to stifle our First Amendment rights, and that was clearly a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.”
The charges were dismissed for no other reason than David Soares, Albany County District Attorney, acted purely in the interest of politics as opposed to upholding the law, stating that he would not prosecute the protesters.
Albany County Republican Chairman Don Clarey explains that Soares is the crux of the problem:
“Soares is the root of the problem, because he refused to enforce the law he swore to uphold. It was catch and release, so the State Police had to protect state property at the behest of the governor. The state should make David Soares pay the overtime.”
The Occupy Albany movement simply went out of their way to get arrested, violating curfew on state property and knowing full-well that the DA would not prosecute them for trespassing and disorderly conduct- as he should have.
Even the Times Union acknowledged that the protesters “could have held drum circles to their hearts’ content in Academy Park” where they were undisturbed for over two months, but instead went to Lafayette Park, “daring the police to arrest them”.
Bottom line, the police did what they had to do to babysit a group of petulant media whores, while DA David Soares enabled the troublemakers by refusing to do his job.
Thus far, the DA’s office has no comment.