The New York City police department’s so-called white shirts — the commanders atop an army of lesser-ranking officers in dark blue — are getting involved the arrests of protesters, says the New York Times. As the Occupy Wall Street protests, which began Sept. 17, enter their third week, it often is the white shirts who lay hands on protesters or initiate arrests.
White shirts led a face-off with protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon. The episode provided no viral YouTube moments, as the senior officers avoided confrontations with the demonstrators. Yet as hundreds of arrests were made, chants of “white shirts, white shirts” could be heard. A white shirt is the antagonist in the demonstrations' defining image: Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's dousing of some penned-in women with pepper spray on Sept. 24, which seemed to surprise at least one of the blue shirts standing near him. Martin Stolar, a member of the National Lawyers Guild representing protesters, said, “It appears that it is white shirts that are directing the rough arrests.”