Detective Rick Lee, better known around these parts as the "Hipster Cop" or "Gentleman's Police Officer" in his own words, was spotted by Salon reporter Justin Elliot after the NYPD's eviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park. If he looks confused in the photograph above, it's because he claims he had no idea about yesterday's planned sweep of the area.
CityRoom caught up with Lee, who said he knew nothing about the NYPD's power move until he "got to work" yesterday morning. "So much for letting you know-they kept it very hush-hush," Lee continued. He says he saw protesters try to claim Duarte Park as Gothamist reported, but didn't see any familiar faces. "It was a different group. They were more radical. I tried to talk to them, to get them out, but they weren’t looking to do any kind of talking." The abundance of strangers that Lee noticed could be a result of him being out sick for two weeks.
Because the NYPD has allowed Lee to speak with various media outlets, it definitely seems like they're using him as an in-house PR tool. This seems likely, yet strange because the NYPD is typically very controlling of their image. Regardless of Lee's presence and his attempts to familiarize himself with protesters, there's little the NYPD can do right now to change their perception, as the decision to remove Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park certainly hasn't won them any friends. At least not among the 99 percent.