Many “Occupy Wall Street” protesters arrested in New York City reside in more luxurious homes than some of their rhetoric might suggest, a Daily Caller investigation has found.
For each of the 984 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City between September 18 and October 15, police collected and filed an information sheet recording the arrestee’s name, age, sex, criminal charge, home address and — in most cases — race. The Daily Caller has obtained all of this information from a source in the New York City government.
Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States.
Some of the homes where “Occupy” arrestees reside, viewed through Google Maps and the Multiple Listing Service real estate database, are the definition of opulence.
Using county assessors and online resources such as Zillow.com, TheDC estimated property values and rents for 87 percent of the homes and 59 percent of the apartments listed in the arrest records.
Even in the nation’s currently depressed housing market, at least 95 of the protesters’ residences are worth approximately $500,000 or more. (RELATED SLIDESHOW: Opulent homes of the ’99 percent’)
The median monthly rent for those living in apartments whose information is readily available is $1,850.
Of the 984 protesters arrested, at least 797 are white. The median age of “Occupy” protesters taken into custody is 27 years.
Ten demonstrators were arrested more than once. The vast majority of the arrests, it should be noted, were for nonviolent offenses.
The arrest intake documents show that arrestees came to New York from all over the country but particularly from the Northeast.
Criminal charges ranged from “loitering while wearing a mask” and “failure to move along” to “violent behavior” and other more serious charges such as “assault 2 [second-degree assault] caus[ing] physical injury to police [or] firemen.” There was also one charge of “sex abuse 3 [third-degree].” Hundreds were arrested on October 1 for obstructing traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.
While it would not be fair to conclude that the arrested protesters are fully representative of a movement that is not completely understood, this information forms the most complete snapshot yet of the demonstrations’ more militant participants.
It also reinforces the persistent critique of protesters as entitled, upper-class agitators with few legitimate grievances.
London’s Daily Mail newspaper, for example, recently highlighted signs of wealth among the throngs in Zuccotti Park.
“Sleeping beside the hardcore activists are increasing numbers of wealthy students turning up to make the most of the party atmosphere, drugs and free food,” reporters Paul Bentley and Micela McLucas wrote in October. “While they dress down to blend in, the youngsters’ privileged backgrounds are revealed by glimpses of expensive gadgetry or the absent minded mention of their private schools during heated political debates.”
“I think that it’s accurate to say that our supporters come from all backgrounds,” Patrick Bruner, the operator of OccupyWallStreet.org, a website dedicated to help organize and spread information about the protests, told TheDC when asked about participants from wealthier backgrounds. “That said, a (non-random) survey on our site revealed that our visitors literally are the 99% in regards to economic realities.”
The national median home value of $185,400 reflects U.S. Census statistics from the years 2005 through 2009, the last year data were available.
TheDC was able to estimate home values and apartment rents for 659 of the 972 residences. Thirteen were in university dormitories; six were post office boxes; four were addresses in foreign countries. Many addresses proved to be nonexistent, and a few were not provided to police.
TheDC has elected not to publish personally identifying information.
Gracie Ferrell and Meg Gasvoda contributed reporting to this story.