Open casting for police lineups are a reality in New York City.
NYPD sources told the New York Daily News that police recruit homeless men from the Bedford-Atlantic Armory to fill their police lineups. For roughly their participation (being photographed while holding a piece of paper), the men get $10 per hour. One man explained that he'd only participate if he really needed the money, which makes perfect sense:
"If I have money in my pocket right now and a lineup comes, I’m not going! But if I don’t have any money, I’m gonna go because the lineup is attractive to me," Andres Villaluel, a 52-year-old homeless man who travels to the Brooklyn shelter every day to look for work, told the tabloid. "It’s like, ‘Okay, I could use $10. I’m not working.'"
The Daily News adds that there's a pay scale for the lineups, as robberies—the most common crime for lineups—tend to pay more than murders do.
However, this practice is frowned upon by some who feel that police mistreat the homeless. Bronx native Sheldon Smith says he's done over 40 lineups since his 18th birthday, but refuses to do any more citing the NYPD's treatment, particularly the actions of beat cops.
"Why am I doing the community service? It needs to be put in terms: why should homeless men keep on doing this if the police are going to harass them?" he asked.
The NYPD told the Daily News that police choose from a pool of applicants, and that officers are given instruction on picking and dealing with participants.
[via New York Daily News]